The 7 steps of receiving feedback
A large part of being a good manager is being able to accept criticism and feedback. In a previous article, we discussed how to give feedback but often receiving feedback, especially when it is negative, can put managers in an even more difficult position than the one they are in when they give feedback. Here are the 7 steps for managers to receive feedback from an employee, coworker or upper management.
Step 1: Select the moment
If you are approached by upper management, a team member, or an employee with feedback at a time that you are unable to give them your undivided attention, request the conversation occurs at a later time. In order to be receptive of feedback, you need to be in the right mindset.
Step 2: Focus on the facts
When receiving negative feedback it is important to separate any personal attacks or judgment from the constructive criticism you can work from. This can be very difficult to do but setting aside anything that is not factual will give you the opportunity to focus on what your coworker felt went wrong and work to improve if you see fit.
Step 3: Clarify the criticism
Start with the facts you focused on from Step 2 and check your understanding of what the person is trying to communicate. This will let the person know they are being heard as well as allowing you to confirm you understand the behaviour or situation they are addressing.
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Step 4: Acknowledge the observation
Pay courtesy to the other person by letting them know you have heard them and appreciate the feedback. This shows managers and team-members a receptiveness to communication about yourself and your work as well as a willingness to learn from your mistakes. Try phrases such as ‘I understand your concern.’ or ‘Thank you for coming to me with your opinion.’
Step 5: Share your opinion and your intentions
This is your opportunity to explain your side of the situation in a calm, professional way. Explain why you acted in the way you did or made the decision you did. Explaining your point of view gives another layer to the story and will let your employee know they are part of a conversation about the situation.
This is also the point where you outline the next steps. Let your co-worker know what you plan on doing going forward. If you agreed with their feedback, explain how you plan to do things differently in the future. If you disagree, refer back to the first part of Step 5. Explain why things are done the way they are so that the employee can better understand and not feel a negative response if the situation arises again.
Step 6: Enter a learning dialogue
Once yourself and your co-worker reach the point that you both acknowledge and respect the other person’s perspective and are prepared to learn from the experience, you are ready for Step 6, entering the Learning Dialogue. Together, discuss a few ways the situation could have been handled differently and how you will both respond if it occurs again.
Step 7: Say thank you
Thanking the person who brought the feedback to your attention ends the conversation with a positive feeling as well as inviting future discussions about feedback, both positive and negative. This will encourage the employee to come to you again and provide you, the manager, with more opportunity to grow and learn.
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