As part of your annual performance review, you will get a lot of feedback.

How you react to this feedback and what you do with it, is all under your control.

Reacting the right way and taking positive action will ensure you grow and are more successful in your future career.

I know this can be difficult, so I am going to show you how to respond to feedback and get the outcome you want.

Get yourself ready

Plan well for the meeting using the post – How to prepare for your performance review.

Planning should stop you feeling anxious and put you in a positive mind set.

Ensure you take a pen and paper to the meeting as you will want to document the positive outcomes.

Take a deep breath, smile, enter the room and take a seat.

It is amazing what smiling can do to your mood, your voice and your manager’s mood.

It is time to listen to the feedback, brace yourself 🙂

Negative feedback

Your reaction to this feedback will be one of the following –

  • Defensive – you feel the feedback is an attack on you and react accordingly.
  • Dispirited – you take the feedback and feel crushed by it.
  • Dismissive – you do not take the feedback seriously and ignore it.
  • Open – you are open to the feedback and want to understand more.

The best way to react to all feedback is to be open to it. Why?

You will be able to listen, question and decide unemotionally whether it is accurate. You can then take positive action.

Your manager will also see you in a positive light as you are acting with professional maturity.

I hear you say, that is easier said than done Mr Nick Foster 🙂

You are right, your natural emotions will take over.

So, the best thing to do is recognise this reaction and counteract it.

The best way I found to do this is to take a pause, take a breath and think of something positive. At year end time, I think of Christmas and my children’s faces 🙂

What is your positive thought?

Right, you are now thinking positive again.

Let’s analyse the feedback

Thank your manager for the feedback; that will really take him by surprise 🙂

He is probably already expecting another reaction and has his own defences up. This will instantly change him to a positive, more relaxed mind set.

If he has not provided you with detail on the feedback and examples, ask him for them.

If he cannot provide these and you feel the feedback is invalid, inform him you are going to dismiss this feedback for the time being. Let him know you are happy to discuss it again later this week when he has more details to hand.

If you have the detail and the examples, it is time for you to identify some actions.

Take action

What can you do to grow and improve from the feedback?

  • Does your manager know of any online/offline training you can do next year? If not take an action to find some and follow up with him later to help you confirm the training content.
  • Are there any books or online resources you can read?
  • Does your manager know of anyone who can help mentor you in this area?
  • Can your manager provide funding for you to hire a personal coach?
  • Can one of your peers who is good in this area help you? This is a double whammy, this will help you grow as well as help your peer grow as a mentor.

Positive feedback

Well done this is great, you have worked hard, been the best you can be and got the recognition you deserve 🙂

Positive feedback is great to get, it makes us feel good and boosts our ego.

I guarantee that most of you do nothing with this great feedback though.

Well, you could.

Positive feedback is telling you that you are doing something right. For you to continue to grow, you must strive to be better.

That is what successful people do, they continue to learn and grow.

Take this as an opportunity to ask you manager how you can improve even further. This shows him that you take your career and growth seriously.

Use the actions section above for further steps with this feedback.

Post meeting

If you need to follow up with your manager, then book it now into his diary.

When the feedback is fresh in your mind, start writing down a set of goals and associated actions you can take next year.

I am thinking about writing a series of posts about goal setting early next year. Let me know in the comments below or via email at if you would read these.

If there is enough demand, I will get scribbling.

Unresolved grievances

If you feel any feedback is invalid and your manager cannot substantiate the feedback, but will not back down, then you have options.

The first option I would take is speak to a trusted colleague or mentor to give you another perspective.

If you still feel a grievance, then contact your HR department and ask them to help you confirm the feedback with your manager.

Wrap up

I think feedback is great, it shows people care enough to help us grow.

How we react to this feedback is crucial. Being open will ensure we listen and understand the feedback.

But remember, we have to do something with that feedback using goals and actions or it is wasted.

If you have any questions, please add a comment below and I will get straight back to you.

Categories: Personal Development