Asking for and getting feedback is hard.  Most people never do it – even though conventional wisdom is that feedback makes us better and helps us achieve our goals.  To get the full advantage of feedback, it’s a good idea to think through the entire process — from asking to implementing.

Let’s assume that you’ve asked for feedback, and your boss or colleagues responded with things you could do differently. Here’s one tactic you can use to begin to practice what you learned. 

Choose one or two items to implement.  Then, tell a few people around you, those who can easily witness you engaging in the new behavior.  Give them permission to hold you accountable without fear of repercussion.  Try something like, “I received some feedback that suggested I don’t let people finish their sentences before I speak.  Beginning today, I’m going to work on that.  Would you be willing to help me by pointing out when you notice me allowing, or not allowing, others to finish their statements?  In the moment, you can clear your throat, cough, or simply say something like, “Lucy, I don’t think John finished his statement.” 

It can take a while before you feel comfortable with the new behavior and before others notice the change, or trust that it is real and not just an aberration.  That’s why change takes commitment and is not for the faint of heart.I always believe that it’s good to ask for developmental feedback, but only when you intend to apply its lessons and make changes that help you become more effective.  


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