How to Embrace and Accept Feedback to Grow Your Career

The single best thing you can do to grow your career is to learn how to embrace feedback from others, whether those are your peers, your boss, or your clients. Everyone, from the greatest writers to the most successful CEOs, has to take feedback as a regular part of their jobs. Even JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame has to accept critiques and edits on her work, which makes her writing, stronger. Companies like Facebook and Google take in feedback from a multitude of sources, including company boards and the general public. If they can do it, so can you.

Your boss should be providing you with regular feedback on your goals and projects during your one-on-one meetings. Sometimes the feedback can be really positive and sometimes it can be more constructive. If you’re not getting feedback of some kind from your boss, speak up! Your boss should be providing you this information without you having to ask, but unfortunately, many people have bosses who want to avoid confrontation or just assume you know what they’re thinking. (Of course, you don’t–you’re not a mind reader.) Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for general feedback on your overall performance or specific feedback on a particular project or aspects of your career. Don’t accept, “You’re doing great” as an answer. Some bosses will tell you you’re doing an awesome job or a bad job without providing clear details about things you’ve done well or poorly and how you can improve.

If you ask your boss for feedback and you’re still receiving vague answers, then probe deeper. Instead of saying “How was my performance?” say “Can you give me three things I could have done better on that presentation yesterday?” Or “What are three things you would have done differently if you had written this report?” By asking specific questions, you’ll receive specific answers.

Nobody enjoys receiving feedback if it’s not 100 percent positive. It’s always going to feel a little uncomfortable to have someone critiquing you, but that’s the only way you’ll improve at your job. And unless your boss is making negative attacks against you, don’t take it personally and don’t get defensive or immediately come up with ways to counter what they’re saying. Instead, thank them for their advice–whether or not you agree with it.

It’s also important to seek out feedback from clients and customers when you own your own business. That’s why companies are always sending out emails and surveys–to see how they’re doing. You’d be wise to consider something similar for your own business. That way, you’ll find out what your customers love as well as discover any issues that may require your attention.

Do you have feedback for me? Respond in the comments below and let me know what you think.