Having a chat with your manager and receiving feedback on your work can be stressful, maybe even a little intimidating, and might put a damper on your day. But it doesn’t need to be that way! 

Feedback is an opportunity to correct issues, to change your way of thinking and to keep improving and building skills to make you more successful in your position. And feedback itself can be positive from the start! 

The next time you’re given feedback, take a moment to take a deep breath and think about what’s been said. Internalize it and learn from it. 


Here are a few tips on how to best receive and put to good use the feedback you receive at work. 


  • Be curious about what’s being said. Listen carefully to what your manager is saying to you. Don’t instantly get your shoulders up and try to fight everything or take on a defensive mindset. Be open to what’s being said and see if you can find validity in the commentary. You might find more positive in the feedback you receive than negative if you just listen carefully and with an open mind. If something doesn’t make sense, make a note of it and ask for clarification later, or if given the chance during the conversation, but be neutral in tone when asking. 
  • Keep the big picture in mind. Everyone has bad days. Everyone goes through the occasional rough patch at work. It’s not permanent! Maybe this feedback is coming at a time when you’ve been struggling a little. That’s ok! Your manager is bringing things to your attention in the hopes of correcting the situation and making things right. A slip up here and there is part of being human; your manager just wants to make sure you’re aware of any issues in order to fix them up. If you’ve been having a hard time at home, now’s the time to mention it as a point of clarification. If the feedback coming at you is positive, take note of that too! Find out what’s been catching your manager’s eye and impressing them and try to do that more often. 
  • Try to take a step back.  Feedback often comes out of the blue and there’s a lot of it at once. It might feel overwhelming and it’s possible you might miss all of the notes you’re given in that moment. Try to write things down, or ask for notes to be provided to you, so you can study them and give the points a little more thought. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, either in the moment or after you’ve had time to think and reflect. This will show your manager that you’re taking their comments to heart and want to do your best, you just want to make sure you’re on the same page and working toward the same goals. 
  • Distinguish the facts of the feedback from the opinions. Maybe you’re not one to speak up in meetings, but you like to share your thoughts in personal messages or emails after the fact. If your manager tells you you need to speak up more often, understand that they’re not seeing this silent communication and their interpretation of your engagement might be a little misguided. However, if you’re asked to contribute more in meetings because you don’t do so, it also might be seen as a lack of interest or that you’re not paying attention, so the occasional audible question or comment might be needed. If your manager says they’ve noticed you always come in to work late or unprepared, that might be a fact and evidenced by late check-ins, missing assignments, the inability to give a solid, well thought-out presentation or other shortcomings. Opinions are just that and can be dismissed while noted; facts about your performance should be taken more seriously. 
  • Practice active listening. It might be tempting to sit back and do nothing, show no emotion or response, when receiving feedback, especially if it’s not that great. Instead, be an active listener. Maintain eye contact, nod when appropriate, even taking a deep breath every so often shows that you’re taking everything in. If something is said that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t sound right, it’s ok to ask a question and try to get clarification. If the explanation doesn’t quite sit right, make note of it and ask again later for clarification, along with mentioning why that particular bit of feedback doesn’t fully make sense according to your perspective. It’s possible something has been misinterpreted or misunderstood, or that someone has provided bad information to your manager and things went a little out of whack. 


Remember that, ultimately, this feedback is about your performance, about the company’s expectations and about how you’re measuring up. You might be going above and beyond but that hasn’t been noted; you’re allowed to point out your wins if all someone is focusing on is the negatives, but do so in a measured, professional way. None of this is personal; you’re not failing as a person. Some managers are harsher on some employees than others. Do your best to take note of the feedback you’ve received, apply it the best you can according to your understanding, and stay focused on the work. 

If the feedback you’ve received is unreasonable or you’re more criticized than complimented for long stretches of time, it might be a good indication that you need to make a change. Davis Staffing can help! We’re always looking to match eager, energetic job candidates with our partner companies. Take a look at the jobs we have available and then give Davis Staffing a call. Let Davis Staffing help you find a great new opportunity!