How To Effectively Learn From Feedback and Evaluations

June 11, 2021

How To Effectively Learn From Feedback and Evaluations

Most evaluation periods are dreaded, no one likes being given negative feedback. If you work, you’re probably never going to avoid doing them, so you should make the most of it and learn something from them. Following these steps or a modified version of them that works for you and your workplace will allow you to improve your abilities in whatever field you’re in.

Why Should You Learn To Accept Feedback?

To put it bluntly, to improve in areas where you might be lacking. Being able to pull out useful information from evaluations or feedback sessions is a necessary skill for anyone who wants to skill themselves up. Though some evaluations may seem harsh, the end goal is to have you improve, which benefits you more than it does your employer (you can take these skills and apply them at other jobs). Learning to extract useful information from feedback is important because many people don’t understand how to give good feedback.

Absorb And Analyze First

Generally the first part of an evaluation is the part where the other party talks about you and your performance. If evaluations or feedback is given frequently in your company, then they’re more likely to talk about a recent incident. If they’re seldom such as bi-annually or annually, then the list is going to be much longer. No matter the length of the list, make sure to actively listen to what is being said. Try your best to not take anything personally, it’s your turn to listen. You shouldn’t agree or disagree with anything, just listen.

Don’t Be Defensive Or Argue

Following the previous tip, you’re supposed to be listening, you can’t do that if you’re talking, you might even miss important parts because you’re trying to talk. Being combative or trying to give reasons why you chose certain actions stops you from listening and understanding the other person. You need to fight the need to be right all the time, take a step back and assess why this meeting is happening in the first place.

Ask For Clarification

After the evaluator is finished, they usually ask if you have questions or comments. Whether or not you are asked, make sure that you get any clarifications that you need. If the feedback given didn’t directly indicate what you needed to work on, don’t be afraid to ask. You want to have a discussion that helps you learn what to do better and how to do it. You don’t want an argument as this won’t end well, specifically for you.

Accept Positive Feedback

Chances are that there will be compliments sprinkled throughout your evaluation. Make sure that you acknowledge them, it sends a signal to the evaluator that you appreciate it. For any compliments that refer to a time where you excelled expectations, make sure you have them elaborate on those. Ask the “why”, as this will help you grow professionally. By pinpointing exactly what it is they liked about your actions, you can replicate or even improve upon it.

Not taking criticisms personally is difficult, especially when it’s about how you’re performing. If you need to constantly remind yourself that the end goal is to become better at what you’re doing, do so. Use whatever tactics you need to in order to stay calm and objective. If you go into an evaluation with the mindset that you’re there to learn and improve, then hearing criticisms will be slightly easier and you won’t take anything personally.

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