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The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback at Work

There are many ways you may go about achieving success in your career. Obviously, getting the right degree or receiving the appropriate form of training will help, as will being a hard worker and having a positive attitude. However, don’t forget about the importance of feedback, because knowing how to give and receive it is how you, and those around you, can achieve the highest degree of success possible.

Receiving Positive Feedback Is Easy, but…

Everyone loves receiving positive feedback, especially at work, because it usually means it will come back to help you again down the road, perhaps with a raise or a promotion, and that people around you recognize your hard work.

When you receive positive feedback, you should feel free to enjoy it, because you earned it, after all. That doesn’t mean you should make a scene, of course, but allow yourself some time to really bask in the positive words you just heard about yourself.

At the same time, don’t let this positive feedback go straight to your head because tomorrow’s another day. It’s even a tremendous idea to ask the person who gave you that feedback if they have any advice for how you can keep up the progress or even guarantee greater success in the future.

Giving Positive Feedback Is Easy, but…

Giving positive feedback is a lot of fun too, of course, but there’s definitely an art to it. If you never give people positive feedback, those below you may become disheartened and those you work with may stop being as much help. Neither is a good thing.

You also don’t want to be the person constantly handing out positive feedback because doing so will mean people inevitably begin taking your words less seriously.

Always say “thank you” or tell people “nice job” when they deserved it, but, when someone truly goes above and beyond, make your appreciation passionate, sincere and maybe even public.

Accepting Negative Feedback

On the other hand, no one wants to hear negative feedback, though, if you never get constructive criticism, chances are it’s not that you’re not doing anything wrong. Instead, it may simply be that no one is paying attention.

When you do get negative feedback, recognize that it isn’t an assessment of your entire personality, but that, at most, it’s an appraisal of who you are at work. It doesn’t say anything about what kind of friend, son/daughter or parent you are, so take the criticism for what it’s worth and use it to make yourself better.

Also, keep in mind that your brain is biased toward negative criticism, which means it tends to have a harder time forgetting it and usually exaggerates how bad it was. Don’t dwell on the feedback and, if you catch yourself doing so, just remember your brain is being a gremlin.

Giving Negative Feedback

Giving feedback is no fun either, but it has to be done, because as we touched on above, this criticism can actually help your employee attain success in the future. Make sure you understand this and that your employee does too. If you didn’t care about them, you wouldn’t be giving them negative feedback; you’d just let them continue to make mistakes and flounder until they paid a much bigger price.

Try the negative feedback sandwich too, by giving them a compliment first (one that’s relevant to work) and then follow up with the negative feedback before giving them another positive word.

In order to achieve success in any area of our lives, feedback is essential. The above should help you handle all forms in the workplace.


Career and Executive Coach Monique Betty is a leading provider of leadership development and career advancement for midcareer professionals in the workplace. Serving clients around the world, Monique primarily works virtually with high-performing individuals who desire to take their professional skills to the next level.




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