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How to Deal With Receiving Feedback

Nobody likes being criticised. Receiving feedback on how we have performed in a particular task is something that you will get throughout your whole life. Learning how to deal with feedback is often key to success.

Let’s look at how to deal with feedback! The quicker we accept that feedback is essential to our personal growth, the quicker we will become less hostile to it and take it as an opportunity to learn. Follow this piece of advice to learn how to accept criticisms with grace and humility, instead of responding back with an angry email or throwing a tantrum. Remember to approach performance feedback with an open mind!

Feedback it’s good for growth – why we don’t like receiving it?

Criticism, which is what feedback is by another name, hurts which is why we don’t like receiving it. Our identity is kept stable most of the time because we are able to balance our own internal voices of criticism. We can block out others but feedback cuts across this and disrupts this balance by intruding.

By suggesting that there are things to improve in our performance, it reaffirms that we are not perfect. This is often despite our mental images of ourselves. It is this which hurts our ego by making us feel inadequate. But this feeling of inadequacy, though unbearable as it may seem, is a good feeling. This is where growth and personal development happen.

Feedback can be difficult but it is intended to be a tool to foster positive change. When we feel inadequate in our ability we have two options. Either we can learn from the feedback and improve ourselves. Or, we can become bitter and risk hearing this same feedback again. Accepting the importance of feedback to your growth will make it a little easier to swallow.

It’s not personal!

Feedback or constructive criticism

You can also wash it down more easily by acknowledging that it is not personal. Feedback or constructive criticism is not an attack on your character or person. You, as an individual, are not being judged so decouple your feedback from yourself. Remember it can be both positive feedback and negative feedback. Don’t assume the worst when you waiting for that performance review to start!

Instead, attach it to your work or performance – which is what is being assessed. This means that your performance did not do well not necessarily that you as an individual are a failure. There is an important distinction between both. The advice also goes for the person giving the feedback.

Why not start a diary to track your progress to help you see where you are excelling and where you may need to put some extra time in? Sound interesting? Take a look at the article HERE about starting a diary to track you progress.


Don’t take it personally from the teacher or person giving you constructive feedback or criticism. They are not giving the feedback as your friend, but rather as your assessor, teacher, expert etc. This is not their personal opinion of you but their professional, constructive feedback of your performance. Maintaining this professionalism between the person receiving and giving the feedback should cushion your ego a little. Especially if you find it to be a difficult conversation.

Remember the purpose of giving feedback is to help you improve. The feedback provider is not intending it as a malicious attack to defame your honour. It’s meant as helpful advice to help you do even better next time and ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes. So, it’s for your benefit and not an opportunity for your feedback giver to mock or laugh at you.

It’s really important to also make sure that you are taking a moment to look after yourself. If feedback has left you feeling negative, take a moment to look after your mental health. There are some top tips in this guide HERE on looking after you.

Ask for clarity when you deal with feedback!

we may receive feedback that we don’t necessarily agree

Sometimes we receive feedback that we don’t necessarily agree with or believe that it fairly reflects how we have performed. In these situations, you have a couple of options. You can speak to the person giving feedback and discuss why they have assessed you in a particular way. Or, you can ask for further clarification on their feedback. Either way make sure you feel it is constructive feedback and you can learn from it.

Hearing out the person’s justifications first is a better alternative than diving in and accusing them of foul play. Giving them this opportunity may also surprise you. You may come to agree with the person’s assessment, having heard their side of the story. You should move forward from your performance feedback with a positive change in mind.

For you, as well, it gives you an opportunity to discuss your own reasons for having chosen a particular method. The two of you can debate the merits of both your methods and come to a conclusion. Remember that your assessor is likely to be someone with more expertise and experience than you. Their judgement is backed by several years of honing their assessment skills – it is unlikely that they have no idea what they are talking about.

If both approaches don’t work and the two of you are set in your own approaches then you might just have to agree to disagree. Or if they’re your senior then you will have to take a slice of humble pie and accept the verdict. Overall, feedback is a big part of learning and growth. It is really key that we learn how to deal with feedback in whatever shape it takes.

Feedback Takeaways

With all of this in mind, we need to make sure we are armed with the tools to deal with feedback in a positive constructive manner.

It’s also important to remember the importance of balancing your workload and being in a positive frame of mind when receiving feedback. Just because you have been given a piece of feedback at 4pm on a Friday doesn’t mean you need to action it there and then. Remember to balance your work and keep a clear head. Take a look at the related article HERE for some top tips.

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