18 Jun 2023

5 tips for receiving feedback

Good, constructive feedback promotes well-being and development in the workplace. But what is the best way to handle feedback from a manager or colleague – especially if you disagree with them or feel criticized? We take a closer look at that here.


There are many things that you need to be aware of when providing feedback in order to promote good dialogue and positive development. This takes practice. But it's also important to learn how to receive feedback. Constructive feedback is not the same as positive feedback. It can just as well be negative – but don't let that put you off. Negative feedback can be useful and instructive if it is delivered with good intentions.  



Feedback is development, not closure 


It can be uncomfortable to be told that you should change your actions or behavior in certain contexts. But you can get the most out of your conversation by entering into the dialogue with your manager or colleague with a positive attitude.  

Being made aware of how other people see you offers you the opportunity to choose how you want to develop in the future. Your perception of yourself does not always match how others perceive you. And while it's probably difficult to hear at first, it can be helpful to realize it. Remember that feedback is about development – not closure or criticism. 


We asked our HR expert and Senior Manager Mette Nørlem to give her 5 best tips on how to receive feedback at work. 


  1. Be aware of your relationship with the person giving the feedback

    If you don't like the person giving you feedback, you will feel more resistance to listening and understanding from the start of the conversation. So, by being aware of your relationship with the feedback-giver, you can minimize your resistance and enter into the dialogue with a more open-minded attitude.

  2. Acknowledge the intention

    You may find that you receive feedback that you don't like or agree with. But if you acknowledge your manager's or colleague's sincere desire and intention to promote development, you will get off to a better start with the positive dialogue. If you are in doubt about what is meant by the feedback, feel free to ask for an explanation and ask for concrete examples if necessary.  

  3. Listen with an open mind

    If you find yourself receiving feedback that feels like criticism, you're likely to get defensive. This means that you don't listen properly, but instead sit and think about how you can counter what is being said. For feedback to work, it's a good idea to enter into the conversation with an open mind. Listen to what is being said and avoid letting your emotions dominate you. The more neutral you can be in the situation the better.

  4. Be curious

    Listening openly to feedback allows you to be more curious about what is being said. For example, you can better reflect on why the feedback is being offered and what the outcome might be if you take it to heart.

  5. Think about how you want to use the feedback

    Once you have received feedback from a colleague or manager, reflect on whether or not you want to act on it. You may want to continue processing some of it, while other parts may be irrelevant to you. It's your decision what to do with the feedback, and you have the right to ignore what others think of you. Remember that feedback is advice – not an order. 


Also read: Feedback culture strengthens your business 

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