IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Dilanka Dilanka is a Business Development Manager at IceHrm. You can contact her at dil[at]

How to Receive Employee Feedback

  Reading Time:

"Hey, can I give you some quick feedback?" Nothing scares you as much as this sentence, no matter who it comes from - a trusted colleague or mentor, a direct report or a senior manager. We've all heard the phrase that feedback is a gift too many times to count, but the truth is that sometimes that gift feels like wrapping up a stack of old, worn socks.

Almost all of us still have real problems and fears when it comes to receiving feedback, even though we value it and crave it (and want it more than once a year to stay motivated, engaged and accountable). While these fears are normal and natural, they can also prevent us from becoming the best version of ourselves.

Fortunately, you don't have to just sit back and hope that the people around you give you the regular, helpful, thoughtful feedback you crave - you can develop better methods for receiving and responding to feedback. Here's your complete guide to getting feedback like a pro.

Getting feedback is hard

First, we should acknowledge how difficult it is to receive feedback, especially constructive feedback, even when we know we need it. It's difficult to hear that you're doing something wrong or that you could improve, and that's compounded when our careers and livelihoods depend on us being good.

It's important to overcome this natural discomfort because feedback is the best way to grow as an employee, manager, leader and person. If you never really know how you're doing in your role because the people around you don't feel like they can be honest with you, you create blind spots that prevent you from achieving your career goals.

This applies at any level, but it's especially important to proactively receive and respond to feedback as you climb the career ladder. People who wouldn't hesitate to give constructive criticism to an individual employee are understandably less willing to do so to a manager, much less a leader.

Going back to the metaphor of feedback as a gift, if you sulk, yell, or get defensive every time someone gives you a gift, you would soon stop receiving gifts. However, learning to accept and respond to feedback with acceptance and gratitude will also give you access to new levels of self-knowledge and success.

Give yourself grace

The first step to learning how to accept feedback better is to give yourself some grace. This is a difficult process, and almost every person in the world has struggled with accepting feedback with grace at some point in their life.

Acknowledging your fears around feedback and potential triggers will help you deal with the natural emotions that arise when you hear something negative or critical, even if it's tactful and helpful. (And it's especially hard when it comes across badly, which can happen even with the best of intentions.)

For example, if you're very proud of your writing skills, criticizing a document you've worked hard to create can feel like a personal attack (hello, that's how it feels for me and every writer I know!). Accept that emotions will arise as you begin to seek more feedback to understand and process them so you can focus on what matters: making the improvements that will help you achieve your goal, in work and in life.

Involve your work group

Feedback is not a passive process - it is a two-way street and an ongoing conversation. This means you don't just have to rely on yourself to improve feedback acceptance: you can ask your work group to help you.

A good first step is to talk to your manager about how they think you currently respond to feedback, as they are probably the one who gives it the most, and discuss together how you would like to improve. You can also ask him to give you feedback more frequently if you currently only receive an annual performance review, and you can even ask him to give you feedback on how you accept feedback (very meta!). When you open this conversation, you can also let your manager know how you would like to receive feedback to make your conversations more productive.

Once conversations with your manager feel more comfortable, ask trusted colleagues and team members to give you feedback as well. This will give you a more comprehensive view of what you're doing well and what needs improvement, and you may discover areas you hadn't previously considered.

It can be intimidating to be asked for feedback by a colleague or manager, so you settle for general or vague answers (or just say, "It's all good!"). To get meaningful and specific feedback that you can act on, consider asking for examples of the behaviors being addressed or specific areas where you need to improve or want to improve.

Try not to ask too many questions, as this can hinder your discovery of the unknowns you need to know. Avoid interrupting the feedback giver with your point of view - this is not the time to argue or defend yourself. And sincerely thank everyone who gives you feedback, even if you don't agree with the feedback. Gratitude ensures that the person will be willing to do it again in the future.

Make changes and evolve

The hardest part of feedback may be receiving it, but the most important part is the next: acting on it and making real change. This applies on both an organizational and personal level. All of these people in your work community have taken the time to give you feedback (which can be just as difficult as receiving it), and you need to honor that gift by taking action.

By asking those around you for feedback and then acting on it promptly, you show them that you are flexible and adaptable and that you value their thoughts and opinions enough to make real changes. You are a person who can look at yourself objectively and make changes without fear because you are trying to be the best version of yourself; that's a pretty inspiring person to have around, as an employee and as a manager.

Once you start asking for and responding to feedback, keep at it! Regularly tell people around you that you are open to feedback so they know this wasn't a one-time offer. And now that you know how powerful receiving feedback can be, don't forget to regularly give positive feedback to those around you (and give constructive criticism when it's warranted and they're open to it).

Because you've received all this feedback, you've probably gotten better at giving it: you know what kind of feedback is helpful and motivating and what kind just makes you look like a failure. Use this new superpower of feedback for good, and you might not just change yourself, but your entire company.

Tips and Tricks

Feedback is definitely a gift that we know we need and crave more of. But it doesn't come wrapped in pretty paper and a bow - it can also bring baggage, emotions and fear. However, with time, practice, and self-compassion, you can become better at asking for and accepting feedback.

The benefits this exercise brings you go beyond a promotion or a raise - they could also help you live a better, more confident life. This is worth all the effort, emotions and struggles that this process can bring.

Get started with a Free Trial to see how effective & engaging our platform is. You'll get the full IceHrm experience like any paid user would. Invite teammates, & start recognizing & rewarding today!

5 Tips To Improve Your Internal Hiring Process

Internal hiring is an excellent practice for companies to retain talented employees and maintain cohesion and continuity. Developing the skills of existing employees can be a good way to cultivate a pool of possible candidates for future promotion....

Managers Guide to Giving Effective Feedback

Managers Guide to Giving Effective Feedback Whether you’re a brand-new manager or an experienced one, everyone can use some tips on how to give feedback to an employee....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.