Embracing Feedback to Enhance Development

Embracing Feedback to Enhance Development image
Bill Gates, founder of Microsft Corp., once said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

If Bill Gates benefitted from feedback, chances are good we could as well.

Whether you’re preparing for a formal developmental conversation with your manager or simply discussing business goals, there are ways to maximize the benefits of the conversation.

The first step is to review your objectives and the progress you’ve made toward achieving them. Be prepared to outline your accomplishments while also identifying areas where you’d like to grow. Consider suggesting some developmental goals of your own and don’t hesitate to let your manager know if you’d like your career to take on a new direction down the road.

“We are prioritizing talent development for our employees at every level, and we welcome and encourage their participation in the process,” notes Chaya Cooperberg, EVP, Chief People and Communications Officer. “Employees have more opportunities than ever before to develop skills and grow their careers.”

In addition to discussing goals and accomplishments, it’s vital to obtain feedback, as your manager’s input can provide the information you need to grow professionally.

When the feedback is positive and specific, it’s the perfect opportunity to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. It’s also an opportunity to learn what skills and traits your manager values and provides a view into your strengths. 

“Knowing where you shine is useful information,” notes Cora Claus, Director, HR Strategy and Talent Development. “This helps you know where to continue to focus your efforts and also how you add unique value to the organization.”

While negative feedback may be tougher to swallow, it is equally valuable. 

“It’s important to receive feedback openly with the goal of finding the truth in what’s being said,” Cora adds. “The temptation is to go on the defensive and criticize the criticism. However, that approach reduces the possibility of benefitting from the feedback and using it to help you develop and grow.”

Even if negative feedback is rooted in misperception, the fact that the perception exists is important to know.

“If someone perceives you in a certain light, even if you feel their perception is incorrect, it’s important to work toward changing others’ perceptions in a positive direction,” Cora explains. “If, for example, you’re perceived as aloof, but you’re really just shy, you may use this piece of feedback to make an effort to better know your colleagues.”

After carefully reviewing the feedback you’ve received, develop an action plan for addressing areas for improvement. Consider sharing it with your manager to get his or her input. 

“Transforming feedback into a plan for growth builds self-awareness, which is critical to professional development,” notes Cora. 
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