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The 3 F’s of Workplace Feedback

Topics: Career Advice
workplace feedback
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How you view feedback could lead you to make a mistake that even CEOs make.

Brushing off feedback or getting defensive can turn one of your most valuable tools into a difficult time for your colleagues and also yourself.

But view workplace feedback a tool to achieving success, and that change of thinking could reward you professionally. So how do you turn around your thinking about feedback? View it as your friend, not your foe, using these three F’s as reminders: frequently, frame of mind and failure.


Seek feedback frequently. Don’t just reserve your feedback request to once a year, during your annual review. Make asking for feedback a routine, daily habit. The more often you get information that can help you, the more opportunities you have to grow in your career.

Frame of Mind

Be in the right frame of mind to receive feedback by thinking of it this way: you could be doing your boss a favor. This is kind of like that advice given to people who fear public speaking – to imagine the audience naked. No, you do not have to imagine your boss naked, but would it help you to know that your boss could be just as nervous or more nervous than you?

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According to a study conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey, the top reason managers hesitate to give feedback is they are concerned about being mean or hurtful. The second reason they hesitate is because they want to be liked. If you ask for feedback, you break the ice and might relieve the pressure off your boss – and he or she could appreciate the gesture. When you consider that your boss is human and could be anxious about giving feedback, it might help ease your anxieties, putting you in a better frame of mind to accept their evaluation of you.

Feedback is often dreaded because we associate it with conflict. But conflict is actually a normal and productive part of a work relationship, when two people with different needs and interests can sometimes butt heads. As HuffPost recently reported, it’s not the amount of conflict that determines the success of the relationship – it’s how conflict is handled that matters.

Almost any advice on feedback covers this ground: avoid being defensive. Easier said than done, right? Just remember to focus on understanding the other person’s perspective, and you’ll be more likely to work together to resolve the conflict.

Reframing the way you view feedback – from a negative experience into a positive one, such as helping your boss out – can help you not only overcome the fear of asking for it, but also put you in the right frame of mind to receive it and find a solution for any work-related issues. Even if you disagree, you now can take some time to ponder your new understanding of the criticism you received and decide how to move forward.


Asking for feedback when you fail might sound like a confidence killer. But it can be quite the opposite. 

Asking for feedback when you didn’t get a job can be productive for two reasons, for example. First, it can reassure you. Perhaps you were qualified, but there was just someone better, for example.

Secondly, it can provide valuable insight on how to improve. For example, hearing that your interview skills need improving can help you work on them for the next interview – so you can land your next fabulous job.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you view and handle feedback at work? We want to hear your experiences. Share your thoughts on feedback in the comments or on Twitter.

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