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.


Twitter for Managers and Leaders

November 1, 2009

Early this month, I spoke about PMI-GLC’s Social Media Initiatives at PMI Leadership Institute Meeting @ Region 4 (at Orlando, Florida).  I found out that majority of project managers and leaders are aware of the social media in some way but not utilizing that much. LinkedIn for networking and Facebook were two tools that most of the PMs knew and had profiles active. I am using Twitter for some time now and finding it very useful and informative.  Here is my Twitter page or follow me @kulveervirk.

In this post I would like to give my readers quick info on Twitter and how it can be used by project/program managers and leaders effectively to advance the profession, help the stakeholders and grow their personal network while learning new stuff.  Next you develop strategy to use Twitter effectively.

Some Basics:
It is evident that more and more professionals are interacting through social media tools and technologies to share the ideas and spread the word.  Social media includes blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, and many more. There are millions of people using Twitter all across the globe.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say but keep on saying it.  – Robert Frost

Twitter is very innovative way of communicating with people you choose to communicate with.  It is inexpensive and effective way to distribute information on the Internet. Twitter allows you to communicate in 140 characters.  These 140 character messages you send or choose to read are called tweets.  In this message (aka tweet) you can include a link to any article, post, or blog.  Once you are on Twitter you will choose to follow some of the folks tweeting and you will also have some followers who are interested to read your tweets.  You can choose whom to follow or if you want to block someone from following you.  You can create lists (similar to groups).

First step after setting up your account  for a professional is to search for fellow professionals in similar profession and start following them.  There is minimal lingo involved that you can find it here to get started. Once you start following people and communicating, you are already on your way create, share and discover ideas on project management and leadership.

For Managers and Leaders:
 Twitter is excellent tool to connect to your stakeholders (provided your stakeholders are on Twitter and following you).  You can provide quick info or update about your project, product, service or initiative to your stakeholders.

For example, you have a product that tracks helpdesk tickets and you have new exciting feature that you have incorporated into the beta release, you can keep updating your followers about the progress and also provide the link to your blog when you provide some update.

If you have a flagship software or hardware product and you may have loyal following (as in case of Apple and Microsoft), you can provide info and also read what others are talking about your product and support/service.

One practical use of Twitter is by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spread the word on health and safety; now a days on H1N1

Other best use is when you are following other professionals in your field, you can find out industry trends, what are they working on, what new things have they discovered.  If can respond to the questions that are being asked or you may have some ask for advice.

You will find and follow many industry leaders and experts are constantly tweeting and you can learn a lot from them.  For example, I follow @kenblanchard, @jack_welch, @tom_peters, @tom_peters, @Padmasree and many more whom I admire.  You may find that your boss or your CEO/CIO is also tweeting, follow him and find out what he says and asks.  Twitter also gives you opportunity to ask direct questions or share ideas.

You can use Twitter to promote your brand.  People from different walk of life might be interested in what you are sharing via tweets and learn from your experience; its nice way to give back to community as well.

There are some drawbacks as well that come with any tool or technologies.  You must be very clear about your objective while tweeting.  Always stay professional and tweet only when you have something useful to share or ask.  A nice motivational or inspiring quote is always better than saying “I am baselining my project plan 7th time in a month.”

Whatever you say (or tweet), represents you and builds your image.  You are building your network and you will get some loyal followers on the way. If you are tweeting about your organization or corporate product, make sure you are authorized to say something. 

You can receive and communicate on Twitter using your smartphone.  If you have Twitter account, you can follow me using @kulveervirk and find out whom am I following.

Thank you for reading and hope that this info will help you in some way.  Let me know what other creative ways you are using Twitter as a professional or project manager.

Useful links:
Why Project Managers Should Twitter
Twitter 101 for Business
Shorten and track your URLs


3-Rs for Leaders

May 19, 2009
  1. Read more
  2. Reflect more
  3. Risk more

Leaders ought to read a lot to stay ahead.  Each day is blessed with new discoveries and useful information.  Using the 80/20 rule, find out what is out there that you need to know.  Co-relate how changes in the world going to shape your world. Read more = Plan

Leaders take tough decisions all the time, they are the face of the organization.  Leaders chalk out the course of action in the midst of challenges.  Reflecting on the decesions taken and the one you are about to take is going to determine if you are an authentic leader – who knows where his True North is.  Reflect more = Check

Taking new risks, coming up with new ideas and having the drive to materialize them, thinking out of the box, leading organization into a totally new direction are the key qualities leader has.  Listen more and observe more.  Taking calculated and smart risk is also creativity. Risk more= Do and Act.

These 3 Rs fit into Deming’s Plan > Do > Check > Act; a continous improvement loop.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.


Fast, Cheap AND Good

August 5, 2008

Good, Fast or Cheap

Can’t pick any two? You also need all three – fast, cheap and good? 

It has been very commonly used set of options in I.T. when offering an alternative or usually when dealing with issues from outsourced service.  Someone will come and say – “Pick any two!” 

Sometime ago I was involved in a project where we had to pick any two options and it was very hard to leave out the third one.  Many times we had to leave ‘cheap’ and other times ‘fast’,  for us ‘good’ was essential and paid the price accordingly.  We had to compensate for third left out option through continuous improvement.  I kind of thought that this is the  dilemma every one will be facing.  But it is not the case as I am finding out.  Things are getting better.

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