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How to Get the Feedback You Really Need to Know

By: Joelle K. Jay, PhD
Posted: December 1, 2011, from the December 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

What if there are things you are doing—or not doing—that are sabotaging your success? What if there are a few key things you’re missing that could help you get even better results? There’s only one way to find out and that’s by getting feedback. Feedback is how you learn. When you seek feedback, you open yourself up to reflection. You become much more thoughtful about what you’re doing and why, how you can improve, how you can maximize your efforts and get better, more predictable results. By seeing yourself as others see you, suddenly you realize where, why and how you can improve. You understand where you’re holding yourself back and where you have the opportunity to surge ahead. Asking for feedback can benefit you in many ways. It can:

  • Help you maximize your natural strengths and reach your full potential;
  • Help you improve your leadership and see into your blind spots;
  • Give you specific direction on how to meet your goals;
  • Help you prepare for advancement;
  • Help you become more effective in your current job; or
  • Give you a sense of what your clients want and need.

Think about your reasons for feedback in advance to take the fullest advantage of the learning it has to offer. Then, before you actually get the feedback, give careful thought to what will happen when you receive it.

Leaders all react to feedback differently. Reactions range from tears to elation. Are you interpreting the feedback in the way that will be most helpful to you? Following are 10 do’s and don’ts that will help you make the most of the feedback you receive.

1. Do choose to work on one or two areas. Use your feedback as a jumping-off point for an action plan, and make some decisions about what it will take to improve in that area.

2. Do focus as much on your strengths as your weaknesses. It’s just as important to build on what’s working than it is to improve on what’s not.