Whether we recognize it or not, giving and receiving feedback is a daily part of life. From our partners, children, coworkers, or bosses, negative and positive feedback is reinforced on us for whatever actions we take. How we respond to the feedback is an incredibly critical part of our jobs and relationships. 

Despite this, over a quarter of employees feel that their opinions and ideas go unheard. When you’re working as a team, undervaluing your teammates can be just as devastating to efficiency as an absentee boss. It might sound like an annoyance, but 60 per cent of employees actually want feedback on a daily basis. 

Here are the steps to responding to professional feedback — positive or negative — from anyone at the office. 

Listen First

This should be fairly obvious as no one is going to feel heard if you’re fiddling with your phone while they’re talking. Listen attentively.

Often, if what you hear is negative, you will most likely want to defend your actions. However, try to consider what someone is saying and recognize that whatever advice they are giving you is meant to guide you. This might be advice about how to conduct yourself effectively at work in the future.

It helps to realize that the feedback you receive can come from a place of good intentions. Constructive criticism is helpful in making improvements at work. Harmony is the goal of any office, and feedback is one way to attain it.

Ask Questions

After receiving feedback, it’s important to ensure you’ve fully comprehended what someone was trying to get across. If what was said was unclear, try turning to them for more clarity and ask if they have solutions to issues.

Even if you understood what was said, you should still get more insight on the situation. Once you’ve clarified the information, briefly summarize it back to the other person to ensure you both agree on what has been exchanged. 

Take a Moment

Once you get a good sense of what they were trying to explain to you, you may need a moment to think about it — particularly if it’s negative. Thank them and ask for a bit of time to gather your thoughts. This will help prevent any emotional reactions to the information and allow you time to draw up a thoughtful response.

Always Follow Up

This isn’t a situation in which saying, “Thank you,” and then quickly forgetting about the feedback will suffice. If you’re genuine about the process, then you should always circle back to the person who gave you the feedback after a few days. Your actions are always going to speak louder than words, so it’s also important to demonstrate to others that you’ve taken their suggestions seriously. 

Feedback is a little give and take, useful only if both sides are participating, so always give it a fair bit of consideration.

Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer