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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

Feedback Is Your Friend

Feedback is uncomfortable. If we got our way, we’d all be perfect at our jobs and never make a mistake, but unfortunately, that’s not reality. We get feedback from our friends, family, and colleagues, and it’s so important to welcome that feedback even if it makes you uncomfortable.

Whether you’re getting some unsolicited advice, or approaching an upcoming performance review, here’s how you can handle it.


If you get some critical input, it can be difficult to know where to put it. Do we listen to it? Reject it? Shun it?

My policy is to thank the person giving you input and try and treat the feedback as an unexpected gift. Even if you don’t entirely like the present, respond with sincere appreciation for the gesture. Then, when you get home, you can decide what to do with it.

Because, really, the person giving you the feedback is expressing care for you. They care enough to let you know where your opportunities are and things that you're not doing so well, so take that as an opportunity to grow.


Managers watch how you receive feedback to determine if you’re ready for advancement.

When you get feedback from managers, it’s often an area of opportunity or an area of weakness. And while they may be interested in that particular capability or gap, they’re also watching how you receive that feedback.

Because for them, that's going to identify if you’re ready for that seat at the table. If you want to play big, people will challenge you, and your manager needs to know if you’re going to be a team player who’s easy to work with, or if you’re going to be constantly rebutting and defensive.


When it comes to biased feedback, don't ignore it.

I know what you're thinking. “Linda, I hear you, but biases are a real thing. Lots of feedback's not necessarily genuine or fair.”

My advice? Don’t focus on biased feedback that doesn’t show up in your work. Is it wrong for someone to give you feedback that’s clearly rooted in prejudice? Yes, and believe me, I’ve received plenty of that as a black female professional. You have every right to hold those people accountable for their prejudice.

But I’m going to challenge that bias in from a politically savvy, and highly emotionally intelligent position so that the person giving me the feedback can learn and grow too. Don’t allow that bias to lay on your shoulders so that you can’t receive feedback in the future.


The biggest toolkit available to you is to take that feedback and change your thought process about it. If you get pushback on something, it’s a huge opportunity for you to show your high emotional intelligence, take it constructively, and go about making improvements other people will see and appreciate. That’s the mindset of a true executive, and it broadcasts that you’re ready and deserving of a seat at that table.

If you need help accepting feedback, let's connect! Put a one-on-one with me on your calendar and I can help you identify what’s holding you back from embracing input.

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