5 steps to overcome your fear of receiving feedback

5 steps to overcome your fear of receiving feedback


Many people are anxious, if not downright terrified, about receiving negative feedback from their managers or superiors. Even if it isn’t harsh or completely negative, a lot of employees still have a fear of feedback. As Thrive explains, people are “hardwired” to respond to threats with the age-old “fight or flight” response and when people perceive feedback as a threat, a lot of folks choose flight. So, it can be hard to accept feedback – especially when we feel like it’s a rejection of our work and, by extension, us. But being able to accept feedback is essential for our growth and development as people.

For people who are apprehensive about going through the feedback process, practising mindfulness can be extremely helpful. When employees are more relaxed about receiving feedback, managers are also less likely to be afraid of giving it to their team members, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Here are 5 tips for people wanting to overcome their feedback phobia:

1) Remember that feedback is just about work

When formulated and delivered correctly, feedback is a comment on the quality of work and your productivity rate — it’s not about you as a person. Therefore, it’s handy to try to separate the two. It’s easier said than done, but try not to take feedback personally. Viewing feedback in a purely work-related context can assist you in alleviating some of the stress surrounding receiving it.

2) Frame it as a positive thing

Perhaps the biggest struggle people face when it comes to receiving feedback is how they frame it mentally. It’s often perceived as coming from a place of ill-intent, but, more often than not, the person delivering the feedback has good intentions and is trying to help you improve rather than tear you down. By reframing the way you think about feedback and working on perceiving it as something good, we can essentially rewire our brains into seeing feedback as beneficial — making it easier to receive.

Positive, happy, confidentFraming feedback as a positive thing can help you overcome your fear of receiving it.

3) Apply it to your work

People often disregard feedback as a way of avoiding the uncomfortable feelings associated with thinking about it. However, figuring out how you can apply the feedback to your future work, rather than ignoring it, can make you feel empowered rather than defeated. There’s always room for improvement, and using feedback in a constructive way will show your managers that you receive it well and care about your work while enhancing your skill set.

4) Acknowledge its importance

Most of us want to grow as people and while praise and affirmation feel good and aid us in realising what we’re doing right, recognising what we’re doing wrong might be more useful for our personal growth. The only way we’ll know what we’re doing correctly and incorrectly is through feedback. Knowing your strengths is great, but knowing the weaknesses you need to work on is equally important — and remembering the inherent value of feedback will only serve us well.

5) Ask follow-up questions

As explained by Pulse, open and honest communication surrounding feedback can help reduce the stress around it. By asking your manager to provide clarification about where exactly you went wrong (and right!), you can get better insight into their point of view which can make the feedback seem more personable and, therefore, more comfortable.

If you’d like to work on your approach to receiving feedback or if you think it would be helpful for your team, check out our communications skills course here or contact us today!

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