Receiving Feedback

Personal Development Well-Being

This SGL can be submitted to your employee training record.

1. What it is

Negative feedback. Constructive criticism. Critical feedback. Constructive Feedback. Whatever you call it, for many of us receiving feedback about what we need to improve, change, or stop makes us squirm in our seats. It may feel like we’re being criticized for the way we are thinking or doing something. It might even feel like we’re being personally attacked. 

Even though feedback is meant to be helpful, our heart still races, our face gets flushed, and our mind still quickly searches for the words to defend ourselves.

What you will learn from this module: 

  • Understand why receiving feedback can be difficult
  • Learn why a growth mindset is a key strategy to minimize one’s fear of feedback
  • Approaches to help in receiving feedback well

2. What I know

  • Think about a recent moment when someone gave you constructive (negative) feedback about something you did. What feelings came up for you? How did you respond in that moment?

Two people talk

  • Now think about a recent moment where you gave someone else constructive feedback about something they did.  How did the other person react?

two people talk

3. How I can improve

There are approaches and techniques to help you think about, and respond to, feedback differently so you can be better at receiving it.

  • Why Receiving Feedback is Difficult?

First, let’s delve into why receiving feedback can be so difficult (it’s not just you, but almost everybody!).

Listen to this podcast to learn the basics of why receiving feedback is difficult as well as strategies to be better at receiving feedback.

How to Get Way Better at Accepting Feedback, with Sheila Heen

  • How to Overcome Your Fear of Feedback

A growth mindset is essential to shift your feelings about constructive feedback. The article below will further explain how a growth mindset versus a fixed-mindset can reduce your anxiety or fear of receiving constructive feedback.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Feedback

  • Six Step Process for Receiving Feedback

Again, even though feedback is meant to be helpful, when we begin to hear it we still have an emotional and physical reaction to it. Read this article to adopt a six step process to handle constructive feedback with more emotional constraint, calm, and tact.

Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

4. What I have learned 

How can you begin to use the concepts and strategies you learned in this module?

  • Ask Yourself:

For example, in the article you read about ‘overcoming your fear of feedback’, the author suggests creating feedback habits that will result in consistent, helpful feedback behaviors for you and your co-workers. Ask yourself, "What feedback habits can I start today?"

  • Ask Others:

Another example is taking Sheila Heen’s suggestion in her podcast: ask for feedback so you can practice receiving it well. Ask a trusted friend or colleague, "What’s one thing you see me doing (or failing to do) that holds me back?"

Focus on certain strategies in the module and start implementing them; experience and practice will improve how you receive feedback.

5. Module Evaluation

Thank you for completing this module.

Please click on the link below to complete the module evaluation. Your feedback will help guide future planning and improvements. We greatly appreciate your input. 

Self-Guided Learning Evaluation

6. Training Completion Form

If you are a current UMass employee, please submit the Training Completion Form only after you complete the Self-Guided Learning Module selected.

By submitting this form, you confirm that you have completed that Self-Guided Learning Module. We will then be able to record your successful completion in your University learning and development transcript.