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How to use feedback to grow

Jan 7, 2021

There’s no better way to kick off the new year than to create an action plan for exciting new goals. Using feedback you’ve already gotten is one of the best (and probably easiest) places to start! All feedback provides space to learn and move forward—good and bad. Whether you’re getting praise for a particularly impressive project, or the conversation is a little tougher to hear, learn to use all kinds of feedback to continue your professional and personal development

1. Listen with the intent to hear

Some feedback is easier to hear than others, but we love thinking about all of it as a means of improvement. A great way to handle getting feedback at work is active listening. This means listening to understand rather than listening to respond.

Steps for active listening:

  1. Don’t have preconceived notions of how the conversation will go. Stay neutral!
  2. Make eye contact while the other person is speaking.
  3. Let the speaker finish before you respond.
  4. Pause before you speak (a helpful tip for achieving step 3!).
  5. Ask clarifying questions if there’s any uncertainty (“What I’m hearing is ___. Is that correct?”).
    Note: Remember to wait until they’ve finished speaking!

The first step in achieving any goal is to understand the desired outcome. Kick assumptions and interruptions to the curb, and listen with the intent to hear.

2. Consider what was communicated

It’s normal to need processing time after receiving feedback. It might take hours, days, or weeks to identify additional questions or a need for clarification. Don’t shy away from this! Think about what was discussed, and make sure you got enough out of the conversation to move forward.

Some things to consider: 

  • Do you have any questions?
  • Did the conversation leave you space to create a plan? If not, what’s missing?
  • Do you have the support you need to move forward?

Remember, you’re receiving this feedback because your organization wants you to succeed. Your impact matters! It’s in the company’s best interest for you to have clarity on what your goals should be, so don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Hold yourself accountable

The Accountability Chart in Traction® Tools is a great tool to understand how everyone at your organization fits into the puzzle; but it’s not going to do the work for you! Only you can make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to turn feedback into measurable change.

But don’t worry — while it is your responsibility to stay on track, that doesn’t mean you need to do it totally alone. If you start to lose direction or need additional help, simply IDS™ the situation for your next coaching session. Not only is this a great way to keep your manager in the loop on how you’re progressing, but you can also work together to uncover continual growth opportunities.

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