Step#1: Listen, Listen, Listen
Instead of reacting or completely tuning out the feedback you receive, listen to it first. Most people confuse listening with agreeing. But, those are two completely different things. When you are listening to someone with an open mind, you are absorbing everything they are saying. Let the person in front of you steer the conversation and see where they take it.
When you are listening, you are opening yourself to learning new things, and that’s how you grow. Negative feedback is not a personal attack. It is an opportunity to evolve. Listening will help you ascertain if a feedback is constructive. And constructive feedback is a gold mine.
Step#2: Ask Questions
To understand the feedback better and to squeeze more value out of it, it is imperative to ask questions. In fact, when you listen carefully, you almost always have questions.
Questions will help you get a grasp of the point of view of the other person. They will also provide insight whether the feedback is constructive or an unproductive exchange. The right questions may also help you to understand the feedback better and unlock more value.
Step#3: Room for Improvement
No one’s perfect. As we grow, you will find flaws that can be corrected and skills that can be improved. And constructive feedback is the fuel that will push you forward. So, when you are presented with constructive feedback, take it as an exercise in self-development. You should never dole out excuses or get conscious about your problems. Everybody has them; you are just ready to do something about it. And that is a winning attitude.
Step#4: Take Action
One of the most important characteristics of constructive feedback is that it should inspire action. Vile comments that do not have any other objective than to keep you down will not suggest any action. However, valuable feedback will help you understand how you can take the next step forward. The responsibility eventually falls upon you to understand the feedback and to put an action plan together to become better.
Constructive feedback is precious. You may receive it from your family, friends, colleagues or professionals. Irrespective of the source of the feedback, you should first understand the problem area and then implement changes in your life to improve yourself. This is how you grow and make you way to a complete and happy life that realizes its full potential.