How to Receive Feedback Effectively

“Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship.”

~ Zeuxis

“Receiving Feedback”

By Sean Lynch

A lot of attention and effort has been directed at teaching supervisors how to deliver effective feedback. Yet, very little attention is paid to the person receiving the feedback. After all, the receiver lets the feedback in and decides whether or not to act on it. Being able to deliver feedback well doesn’t guarantee knowing how to be receptive to it, or find the useful feedback in poorly delivered criticism.

We have all been receiving feedback for our entire lives and have probably developed some patterns in the way we react to it. Many times our reactions are emotional, and the key to finding value is to carefully analyze the feedback outside of that emotional reaction.

The easiest way to bypass our emotional reaction is to ask for feedback ourselves. But, ask in small bites. “What is one thing that I do well, or one thing that I could improve?”

When receiving feedback, always say, “Thank you,” and let your emotional reaction subside before you decide whether it is valid and what to do with it. Then, separate the person from the feedback they gave you. Assume that they intended to give you information to benefit you even if it was not delivered in the most ideal manner. After thinking about it, you might need clarification. If you still disagree or are unsure, you can always try it out in low risk settings.

Taking criticism may not get any easier, but you need feedback to grow, improve and learn to play at the next level. Take charge of the process by asking for feedback yourself. And, when you get feedback, let your emotional reaction subside before you search for the diamond in the rough.

This article was provided courtesy of Lead Star – a premiere leadership development firm. You can learn more about leadership by visiting their website at

Coaching Call to Action

What aspect of yourself or your work would you like feedback about? What will you do this week to practice receiving feedback? Who will you ask? Please take a minute to share your experience with receiving feedback.