Feedback is Just the Beginning

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Everybody says that feedback is important, and it is. But feedback isn’t magical. You must add your insight and your effort to make it work. Start with receiving the feedback.

Receive the Feedback

When you get feedback from another person, pay attention to it. Sometimes that’s hard. It can be hard because the message is something you don’t want to hear. It can be hard because the person delivering the feedback is angry or upset. You’ll have time to clarify meanings and words later.

Don’t try to analyze feedback right away. Don’t respond. Instead, say, “Thank you.” If someone else presses you for a reaction, tell them you need to process the feedback. That’s your next step.

Evaluate the Feedback

All feedback is a gift, but only some is useful. Evaluate feedback to identify the useful parts. Evaluate it to determine whether you should act on it.

It’s best to do this when you have some time to reflect. Think about how many times you’ve received similar feedback. Think about how important the feedback might be to your leadership effectiveness. Discuss feedback with a mentor or coach.

Your goals should be to pick the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your leadership development. You can’t work effectively on more than one thing at a time. So, try to identify the feedback that’s most important for your improvement.

Act On the Feedback

Feedback won’t help you unless you do something different because of it. So, figure out what you should do. Decide when you should do it.

After you try to do something differently, make some notes about how you did. They shouldn’t be elaborate. A couple of words, sentences, or phrases will do the trick. The purpose of the note is for you to capture the spirit of the moment.

Later, take time to review what you did, how you did, and how you could do even better next time. Then, try again. Repeat until you’re satisfied.

Don’t expect instant improvement. Plan to work on one important thing for 90 days.


All feedback is a gift. Some is useful.

When you get feedback, say, “Thank you.”

Evaluate the feedback. What will have the biggest impact on your development?

Act on the feedback. Only one issue at a time.

Make evaluating and acting on feedback a habit.

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