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4 Tips and 3 Steps for Receiving Tough Feedback

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Celebrate the first episode of our podcast: "Thrive Up in Tech"

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your coworkers gave you some tough feedback and you didn't know how to respond? Did you, like me, feel all nervous, doubting yourself, and starting to question and criticize yourself? The whole point of this blog is to help you see feedback in a positive light, as something that can help you grow personally, instead of seeing it as a negative attack.

But hold on, before we get into the tips and foundations, let's talk about what tough feedback means. Tough feedback, which is also known as constructive criticism, is when someone tells you areas where you can improve instead of just giving you compliments.

Examples of tough feedback include comments like "Your code could be easier to read" or "You might want to work on your presentation skills." Yeah, it might be hard to hear this kind of feedback, but it can help you grow personally. The key is to see these feedback moments as opportunities to become better, instead of taking them as personal attacks.

Alright, now, how can you change your mindset to look at things differently? Here are 4 handy tips and 5 goldern steps that will assist you in accepting challenging feedback in any situation.

Tip #1 - The Power of Reflection

When receiving tough feedback, it is natural to feel defensive and have the immediate urge to explain yourself. However, it is crucial to take a moment to reflect.

Reflection allows you to understand your perspective, why you feel a certain way, and what the actual problem is.

For instance, when I received feedback on my presentation delivery, my initial reaction was defensiveness. However, upon reflection, I recognized the validity of the feedback and identified areas for improvement. Reflection provides an opportunity to comprehend the feedback and discover ways to address it.

Tip #2 - Seeking the Truth

After doing some thinking, it's important to find the truth by reaching out to trusted colleagues and mentors. Seeking the truth is kind of like being a detective. Connect with your trusted colleagues and mentors, share tough feedback, and welcome their wisdom. External viewpoints can really make a difference, giving you a fresh perspective and some useful context.

External perspectives offer new insights and helpful advice. By getting feedback from different people, like designers, developers, and end-users, you can see your work from different angles and find areas to improve.

For example, let's say you're working on a new feature for your software. Getting feedback from a diverse group ensures that your product takes into account a wide range of perspectives. It's like having a roundtable discussion where each person brings a unique dish to the tech potluck.

The more variety, the more enriching the experience!

Embracing these external perspectives helps you uncover the true essence of the feedback.

Tip #3 - Having an Open Mind

Even if you don't initially agree with tough feedback, it's important to keep an open mind.

If you still don't agree after thinking about it, remember that there's always something to learn. Embrace a different perspective and look for that nugget of truth. It's like leveling up and becoming a better version of yourself.

Being open-minded means being willing to explore different perspectives and consider other solutions. It involves learning from others and improving your ideas with the collective brilliance of your team. Embracing an open mind helps you uncover opportunities and become a better version of yourself.

For example, a colleague might suggest changes to your coding approach. Instead of brushing it off, being open-minded allows you to see their point of view and find a more efficient solution.

But being open-minded in this situation means considering their viewpoint. They might have a valid point! Maybe simplifying the interface could enhance the user experience. By being open-minded, you open yourself up to potential improvements that you might have missed otherwise. It's not about abandoning your ideas; it's about refining them with the collective brilliance of your team.

Tip #4 - Embracing a Growth Mindset

Receiving tough feedback can be a bit of a challenge, but it's important to approach it with a growth mindset. A growth mindset believes in the potential for personal growth and sees challenges as chances to improve. By embracing a growth mindset, you can turn tough feedback into valuable learning experiences.

When faced with tough feedback, it's easy to get a bit down and feel discouraged. However, a growth mindset lets you appreciate feedback as an opportunity to grow professionally. Instead of seeing feedback as a personal attack, see it as a chance to enhance your skills and knowledge.

One cool thing about a growth mindset is that it sees challenges as chances to learn and grow. For example, when you come across a complicated coding problem, a growth mindset encourages you to see it as a chance to boost your problem-solving skills. Instead of seeing it as a roadblock, approach it with curiosity and a willingness to learn.


The Golden Universal Rule Formula for Communication

Step #1 - Active Listening

Truly listen and understand what is being said. Avoid the urge to immediately defend yourself and instead focus on understanding the feedback.

Step # 2 - Acknowledging

Clarify and summarize the feedback to ensure there is no misunderstanding. This shows engagement and helps everyone be on the same page.

Step # 3 - Being Grateful

Express gratitude and thank the person for taking the time and effort to provide feedback. Appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow.


Receiving some constructive feedback at work is a wonderful opportunity to grow and become even better. Instead of becoming defensive, why not take a moment to pause and reflect on it? Keeping an open mind and being willing to accept the truth is key. It's all about embracing a growth mindset and being receptive to learning and making progress.

Just remember, this transformation doesn't happen overnight. It requires time and practice to implement these strategies effectively. So, be kind to yourself, stay patient, and enjoy the rewarding journey of professional development.

Warm regards,


P.S. Your voice matters. Share your thoughts on our LinkedIn page, and let’s shape the future of together.

[All opinions expressed in my newsletters are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer.]



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