Being open to feedback

Feedback is important to be successful in relationships and in the workplace.

Feedback doesn’t just happen; you have to make it happen. Anytime you speak or act, there is an opportunity to receive constructive feedback. This can be scary for some of us but not if you remember that the person you are typically asking for the feedback from knows you and may have valuable information to share.

When you ask for feedback, pose the question in the positive. “How can I do better?” “What recommendations do you have?” It is easier for people to offer positive compared to negative feedback. Let them know that you really want to know what they think; that you value their honesty, candor and opinion, no matter what they have to say.

Once you receive constructive feedback, accept it and express your appreciation for their willingness to provide this helpful information. Do not let the feedback (no matter how unpleasant) affect your opinion of the person who is offering input.

The ultimate goal is to learn from feedback. Make it a habit to ask for constructive feedback, even when you think everything is going well. Be patient with yourself as you implement the suggested changes and recommendations. This can take time, but in the end your relationships will be better for the effort.

Michigan State University Extension offers a multitude of classes and resources on parenting, conflict resolution and violence prevention. For programs near you go to: