The key to long-term business success and personal achievement is determined largely not by hard work alone, but by one’s ability to glean the kernels of wisdom from the chaff of feedback. Here are some suggestions to help you gain the most benefit from your next feedback session.

Do:

  • Ask open-ended questions. It’s a good idea to frequently summarize and clarify the feedback in your own words. Always ask for specific examples.
  • Take time to reflect on the feedback. Look for opportunities to continuously incorporate useful suggestions to improve your effectiveness.
  • Be grateful. Thank the people who take the time to give you honest feedback, because without them you’ll never attain your full potential.

Don’t:

  • Shoot the messenger. Be polite and keep your focus on the message.
  • Become upset, judgmental or defensive. Be willing to consider every input.
  • Argue or interrupt. Listen intently and stay open-minded.
  • Rationalize. Accept responsibility for your actions.

Remember: Without timely feedback, it’s utterly impossible for a person to accurately identify his or her shortcomings, correct bad habits, and profit from mistakes.