How to Receive Feedback Like a Pro, Even If You Don’t Agree With It

What do you do when confronted with news that something you worked on missed the mark?

Do you try to immediately explain what you did before fully hearing the information being presented?

Do you discount the input as a difference in working styles or personal preference?

Do you listen and look for opportunities where you may expand on your repertoire?

Before we get into these, I want to share one of my favorite quotes: When you know better, you do better. I’m telling you that because it’s natural for people to fall into one of the first two categories.

After all, you worked hard to get where you are, right? You honed your mental agility with hours upon hours of education, and that should be respected. I totally get it.

As well intentioned as that action might be, it’s probably not going to work out the way you think it is. Let’s think this through for a moment.

If you’re in the position where someone is critiquing your performance, presumably they have some influence of your bank account – at least – and possibly your overall career projection. All that is just to say you might just want to kind of maybe consider playing nice.

Now, let’s back to the potential responses and the how they impact your perception.

Knee jerk explanations make you look uncoachable. If you cut people off every time they try to give you perspective other than your own, they will eventually stop making the effort because it’s a waste of time for them. At that point, it’s just a matter of time before your opportunities dry up.

That’s not to say you can’t have a conversation but if you find yourself in an argument whenever you receive anything less than stellar praise then you’re probably doing it wrong. There’s a reason they say teamwork makes the dream work.

If you listen and continue to do the same thing as before, that’s not a whole lot better. If you’re listening and nodding your head but do the opposite of what was discussed as soon as you leave the room, then any inkling of trust you have will shrivel up and die.

And without trust, you have nothing.

Aside from that, you squander a learning opportunity. You might even be discounting what I’m saying right now. That’s cool and all but if you don’t remember anything else from reading this, remember me telling you that the best coaching you get in your career will be the hardest to hear. Pats on the back feel good but won’t help you grow.

If you’re reading this, I feel comfortable assuming you want to get the most of your career. I’m also going to assume you’re

Notice in the last option that I didn’t say meekly follow every piece of advice ever given to you. No matter how well intended some people may give you advice that won’t work for you. It might be that they don’t have all of the relevant information to give better advice. It could be that their comfort level saying or doing a certain thing may exceed your own. It could be that advice of what they would do would be inappropriate or ineffective because of your shorter tenure.

What I’m saying is you need to hear where they’re coming from, try to put yourselves in their shoes, and adjust accordingly. If you continue to take this approach and make tweaks along the way, you’ll find yourself with a much more versatile skillset than you had before while still being true to yourself. And that’s good news because nobody likes a phony.