Steps to Assertiveness: Receiving Constructive Feedback

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My last few posts have been exploring specific characteristics of Assertiveness, including giving Constructive Feedback instead of criticism. Okay; so now you can give it, but can you take it?? Today, I am going to discuss The ability receive Constructive/Corrective Feedback .

Being open to receiving constructive feedback relates to a willingness to listen to others observations without having a hissy fit! as, Who knows? they may just have a point! Within this article, I will outline some Benefits of Constructive feedback, as well as highlight some Skills to help become more open to receiving it.

Benefits of constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback can be potentially beneficial, providing valuable information which is conducive to personal Learning, growth and development. For instance; a flaw, blind spot or a different perspective that you were blissfully unaware of may be highlighted. Such observations may just help you to make changes that can improve personal or professional interactions and relations.

To benefit from Constructive Feedback, you need to be open to it and resist the urge to get defensive, or attack back. That being said, I am not advocating that you permit others to use feedback to try to manipulate or undermine you.  This is more in the realm of Criticism. The difference between these will be further discussed next time in ‘Criticism Versus Constructive Feedback.’ For now though, lets explore some tips to help you to receive Constructive Feedback.

Skills for receiving Constructive Feedback

Change Attitudes/Interpretations
Develop Self – Acceptance
Separate the behaviour from the person

Change attitude/Interpretations
I know it can be unpleasant or even hurtful, to have our short comings highlighted. It doesn’t, however; have to mean the end of the world. Whats important in becoming open to feedback, is to change your interpretation of it. For instance; replacing thoughts such as ‘This is so awful, How could they say that to me?’, with useful questions such as ‘What are they trying to tell me here?’,  “Is there any learning in this for me?, or “What would that be like for me if I experienced that?”

Developing Self-Acceptance
Becoming more accepting of your imperfect nature can make it easier to receive feedback from others on their observations of your imperfections! Its important to realize that you are only Human. You will, by times, make mistakes, mess up magnificently, or let others down. You are not, nor will you ever be perfect.  And guess what; neither is anyone else. Adopting this attitude doesn’t give you the green light to be deliberately inconsiderate or disrespectful of others, Rather; that you Recognize and accept that you have flaws, which will make it a a little easier to take it on board when others point them out.

Separating your behaviours from you as a person
Being open to Constructive Feedback can be further facilitated by learning to separate your behaviours from who you are as a person. An example of this would be if you make a mistake you can distinguish this action from the core of your being. So: making a mistake does not mean that you are a mistake.

within this article I have touched on a few pointers to help with receiving constructive feedback. On Aspire Assertiveness Courses, we combine essential information, necessary frameworks with Roleplays to develop competency at giving and receiving Constructive feedback. This is a hugely valuable skill, which can be applied in personal and professional relationships. All course details are available on our website

Next time in ‘Criticism V’s Constructive Feedback’ I will highlight the differance between these, as well as provide an easy to follow framework for giving Constructive Feedback.

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