As we approach the end of the year, many organizations are gearing up for annual evaluations to discuss performance, plan for the next year, and exchange feedback.
Feedback is crucial to professional growth as it plays a transformative role in individual development, team dynamics, and overall organizational success. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of giving and receiving feedback at work and how it can make a significant difference in your professional journey.
The Transformative Power of Feedback
Feedback isn’t just about pointing out mistakes and weaknesses for productivity and profitability. It matters in the workplace for several reasons, including:
1. Personal Growth and Development
Feedback is an excellent source of inspiration that allows individuals to move forward and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses continuously. It provides employees with a clear understanding of their performance, allowing every individual to focus on areas that need improvement while continuing to build their strengths.
Feedback, if provided constructively, can help you to keep track of your progress and guide you to achieve your goals better.
2. Improved Job Performance
Correcting minor issues early on is much easier than addressing a major problem later.
Receiving timely and specific feedback, whether positive or negative, can help you make immediate adjustments to your work when necessary. In fact, 92 percent of employees in Zippia’s report agree that when done right, negative feedback helps improve performance.¹
3. Enhanced Communication Skills
Feedback is a two-way street. When you receive feedback, you can also learn how to communicate effectively. You’ll gain experience to listen actively, process information efficiently, and respond constructively. These communication skills are valuable in the workplace and all aspects of life.
4. Boosted Confidence
Positive feedback can be a powerful motivator. In the same report by Zippia, four out of ten employees who receive little to no feedback are disengaged from work. Recognizing your achievements, no matter how small, can boost your confidence, morale, and engagement. It encourages you to tackle more challenges and make meaningful contributions to your organization.
5. Improved Self-Awareness
Getting feedback from others allows you to see yourself based on their perspectives and improve any areas you might have overlooked. We often become unaware of our negative behaviors or habits, but with feedback, we can better understand ourselves and become more self-aware.
Receiving Feedback Is Tough and Requires a Positive Attitude
Receiving and processing feedback can be challenging for many individuals. Some tend to become defensive, while others take it personally. However, if you want to truly benefit from feedback, learning how to receive it effectively and process it with a positive attitude is essential.
1. The First Step Is to Approach It With an Open Mind
Understand that feedback is not a personal attack but rather an opportunity for growth. When receiving feedback, try to suspend judgment and resist the urge to become defensive. Instead, focus on listening attentively and absorbing the information provided. An open mind creates a safe space for productive dialogue and self-improvement.
2. Feedback Is Most Helpful When It’s Specific and Actionable
If you receive vague or unclear feedback, don’t hesitate to ask for more details. Seek specific examples or instances that illustrate the person’s point. This helps you understand the feedback better and allows you to work on the actionable insights you gather.
3. Active Listening Is a Crucial Skill When It Comes to Getting Feedback
Pay attention to the speaker’s tone, body language, and emotions when receiving feedback. Make eye contact, nod in acknowledgment, and avoid interrupting the person. Show genuine interest in what they have to say, and refrain from formulating your response while they’re still speaking. Give them your full attention, and demonstrate respect and an eagerness to learn.
4. Getting Feedback Can Stir up a Range of Emotions
Managing these emotions effectively is essential to maintain a productive feedback exchange. If you feel defensive or emotional, take a deep breath and remind yourself that feedback is meant to help you improve, not criticize you. Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t let them take over the conversation.
5. Expressing Gratitude Is a Powerful Way of Fostering a Positive Feedback Culture
Regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, thank the person who took the time to provide it. This shows that you value their input and are open to learning and growth. A simple “Thank you for sharing your feedback” can go a long way in building trust and goodwill.
6. Don’t Limit Your Feedback Intake to Formal Performance Evaluations or When Mistakes Are Pointed Out
Instead, actively seek feedback on an ongoing basis. Regularly asking for input from colleagues, mentors, or friends can help you identify blind spots and continuously improve. This proactive approach to feedback demonstrates your commitment to growth and development.
7. Take Some Time to Reflect on the Feedback You Received
Consider the validity of the feedback and whether it aligns with your perceptions of your performance. Reflecting on feedback allows you to process it more deeply and determine how you can use it to improve. It’s also an opportunity to identify patterns in the feedback you receive, which can highlight areas for consistent development.
Feedback Does Not Reflect Self-Worth
One common mistake people make is tying feedback to their self-worth. It’s crucial to remember that feedback is about actions and behaviors, not your inherent value as a person. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it should not define your self-esteem. Maintaining this separation allows you to view feedback objectively and use it constructively.
Create an Action Plan
Feedback is most valuable when it leads to concrete actions for improvement. Once you’ve received and reflected on feedback, create an action plan. Identify specific steps you can take to address the feedback and make positive changes. Setting goals and timelines can help you stay accountable and track your progress.
Implement Feedback Effectively
Getting feedback is just the first step; implementing it is where real growth happens. Put your action plan into practice and consciously try to change the behaviors or actions identified in the feedback. Seek support and guidance if necessary, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Remember that personal growth is a continuous journey.
To demonstrate your commitment to improvement and show appreciation for the feedback, consider following up with the person who provided it. Share your progress and any changes you’ve made based on their feedback. This helps close the feedback loop and strengthens your relationships with colleagues and mentors.
Embrace a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset believes that dedication and hard work can develop your abilities and intelligence. Embracing this mindset is crucial when receiving and processing feedback. Instead of viewing feedback as a judgment of your abilities, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. A growth mindset encourages resilience and a willingness to embrace challenges.
FIND MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE HELP OF GALT FOUNDATION
As we approach the end of the year and you prepare for your next performance evaluation, remember that feedback is not just a means to an end—it’s a valuable resource that can guide you toward your goals and help your organization thrive.
If you’re looking for fulfilling job opportunities that value your well-being and treat you fairly, Galt is here to help. We have a 20-year track record of matching suitable candidates—including people with disabilities—with the right employers, and we can do the same for you. Feel free to contact us today to start a conversation. We’d be glad to help.
Mazur, Caitlin. “20 Essential Employee Feedback Statistics : Employees Want More Than Just Performance Reviews” Zippia, Feb. 1, 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/employee-feedback-statistics/