How to Receive Constructive Feedback

March 8, 2016

20160224_165321-01 Receiving feedback in the workplace isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can be hard to take constructive (or negative) feedback and turn it into a positive response. If you have received feedback that was not up to your expectations, the last thing you want to do is cause an emotional outburst. Here are some top tips on how you can control yourself with negative feedback, avoid confrontation and utilize feedback to become a better employee.

  1. Let your boss express his or her ideas fully: always be sure to let your boss finish what she/he is saying and do your best to understand what is being said. Paraphrasing exactly what you are being told and making sure to let the other person finish is very important. This way you can demonstrate that you’ve heard their opinion and that they had full opportunity to express their opinion.
  2. Always evaluate feedback: Looking for particular reasons for a particular feedback you got is important. Be sure to look at the situation and examine some of the underlying aspects. If your boss has expressed feedback in an emotional outburst, for example, you may want to consider some of the other factors like he/she being under overwhelming pressure from management or poor conditions at home.
  3. Keep yourself in check: Responding to feedback with a negative response can put your job growth prospects in danger. Be sure to keep yourself in check with your nonverbal responses and with the emotion in your voice.
  4. Work to alter behavior: the only way that you can use negative feedback is to work at altering your behavior. Use feedback to find workplace goals and then avoid certain behaviors to become a more effective employee.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification: If you are unsure of the specifics of negative feedback be sure to ask a number of clarifying questions on how you can improve or specific actions that you are doing that could be causing inefficiency. A good boss will be able to identify a number of alternatives to your behavior or to your workplace practices.

Use these top tips when receiving feedback from your boss so that you can use it to the fullest extent.

Further reading:

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Building Brand Through Follow-up Actions

June 10, 2010

Everyday we make so many commitments talking near water cooler, during networking event, in a meetings or over the phone.  Some of our commitments are urgent and important and we follow-up properly.  There are other few commitments that we know are not so important for us or our job since we made those casually by saying that, ” I will get back to you on this” ….. and then we drop the ball. 

While searching my twitter handle using online tool called topsy.com, I found out that Tim Sanders had selected my retweet and asked to have him contacted (How a retweet can enrich your library) to give out a book.  This was a contest he ran during September 2009, and I found out about results in May 2010.  I follow Tim on Twitter and had retweeted him.

Anyhow, I sent him a note in May 2010 referencing the contest and asking if I can still get the book although I was very late to contact?  Guess what, I got an email from Tim enquiring about my mailing address so that he can ship me the book.  I provided it and almost forgot about it.

Few days ago, I got another email from Tim checking if I have received the book or not?  I actually have not.  But the point is taking the time to follow-up.  This follow-up raised Tim’s stock in my mind even higher.

Going the extra mile (by a person who might be super busy and owes nothing in return) reflects that person practices what he preaches. He is true to his brand.

Here are 4 points to remind us on closing the loop on our commitments we make casually – 

  1. Always make a note of your commitments: I keep a small notebook handy and make a note against a hand drawn box that can be checked (kind of to-do list).
  2. Prioritize and record follow-up action: I evaluate what can wait and what should be attended right away based on my schedule.
  3. Take the action or delegate it: Do it and check the box on notebook by recording observations.
  4. Check that commitment is fulfilled: This is what I will be implementing.  I will follow-up after I fulfill the commitment. If you delegated the task, verify that person delivered the results.

If you have made a commitment and its low in priority or you have found out that you can no longer fulfill it, just inform the person expecting from you and close the loop.  Remember to follow-up and close the loop.  Do not leave anything with loose ends. I guess this is one of the key ingredient to build brands.


How does it go up the communication chain?

October 15, 2009

In the beginning was the plan, and then the specification.

And the plan was without form, and the specification was void.

And the darkness was upon the faces of the implementors;
And they spoke unto their managers, saying: “It is a crock of cow manure, and it stinketh.

And their manager went to the second level manager, and he spake unto him, saying: “It is a crock of excrement, and none may abide the odor thereof.

And the second level manager went to the third level, and he spake unto him saying: “It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide before it.

And the third level went to the division manager, and he spake unto him, saying: “It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.

And the division manager went to the assistant vice-president, and he spake unto him, saying: “It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.

And the assistant vice-president went to the vice-president, and he spake unto him, saying: “It promoteth growth and it is very powerful.

And the vice-president went before the president and spake unto him, saying: “This powerful new product will promote growth of the company.

And the president looked upon the product and saw that “It was good!

What lessons can we draw from this funny tale?  I am interested to know.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Reference- ‘Project Planning, Scheduling & Control’ by James P Lewis, Irwin Professional Publishing, Burr Ridge, IL.


Know what to emphasize

May 23, 2008

PM Tips – 1

What points we emphasize make a big difference in our communications. 

How do we do that? We got to know the expectation of the audience and what we want to convey.  Over emphasizing something or emphasizing meager issues may dilute the effect of conversation. We develop this skill with experience, paying attention to the audience and listening how others do it.

Certainly there are key things that you want to emphasize.  Make sure what you want to emphasize is really relevant and audience has some clue about what you are talking.

Notice how you emphasize? Do you find yourself keep repeating what you want to communicate in different phrases or you cleverly divert every topic discussed and then associate to what you have in mind? 

Observe if you are getting your point across.  Use some relevant example to explain your point.  Do not give frustrated look. You may have to do more work to refine your point.

Thank you for reading. Any suggestions or feedback?


Keeping in touch with direct reports?

December 11, 2007

Workplaces have transformed a lot in last few years from people working in same office building to team members scattered over different continents.  This poses some benefits and challenges.  As we all know that we are all connected via communication and our communication skills and capabilities play a major role in our success.

Keeping the communication channel open and alive is the responsibility of the manager.  As a manager you just can not assume that if no one is complaining, all is well.  There are some employees who get chance to meet and talk to boss on performance review day.  I know there might be some employees who always say “everything is good” and prefer least interference as all the routine work is being done on time.

Does not matter what kind of work you are in, keeping in touch with your direct reports does the following –

  1.  Boosts the employee morale (you value the employee by calling or listening).

  2.  Employee feels connected with the organization/department.

  3.  Employee is encouraged to give and receive suggestion/feedback.

  4.  You can coach employee in the right direction as per his objectives.

  5.  Your objectives and expectations are clearly communicated and aligned.

  6.  You, employee and organization, all benefit from this interaction.

  7.  You make the real difference by managing talent.

Employee is a talent.  We know that when we are managing talent in this innovation age, we got to ensure that talent thrives and stays innovative. 

Thank you for reading and have a great day.



Project Meetings – Communication Essentials

June 22, 2007

Many tips are available on productive meeting, I want to mention that I have found very much helpful. We all need to work on making meetings productive.  Because of lack of preparation or committment or something else, meetings become waste of time as desired outcome is not achieved.   

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