How To Take Feedback

lulo
Spotlight
Published in
3 min readAug 14, 2018

A 3-step formula to be a badass feedback-taker.

I’ve read a lot about giving feedback, it’s a crucial skill when you’re managing a team, however knowing how to take feedback is just as important, for team players and managers alike.

Why?

  • It helps you to uncover your biases and blind spots. We all have ‘em.
  • It sparks discovery of new opportunities and ideas. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • It strengthens your relationship with your team. By listening and being listened to you build trust.

If you agree with these 3, now it’s time to review your feedback taking skills.

Get feedback as early as possible

  • Identify when you hit a roadblock. Can anyone in my team help me solve this particular question? Am I running in circles? Do I feel frustrated? If you replied ‘yes’ to any of these, ask for feedback.
  • It’s easy to fall in love with your creations so don’t wait too long to show your work. The more time you’ve put into it, the harder it will be to accept something’s not working.
  • Give the appropriate context to the person you’re asking feedback from. Avoid questions such as: “What do you think?”, “Do you like it?”, “How bad is it?”; ask for specifics “Do you think this button is clear enough”, “Is this the appropriate pattern?”, “Will this translate well to mobile?”

Ask why, up to five times if necessary

Being defensive with your work is somehow natural. It’s easy to start explaining ourselves before taking feedback or finding “reasons” on why it is the way it is. Don’t do this. Ask first.

“Why do you think that?”

“What problem did you find with it?”

“How do you think it will affect users?”

Be curious. Listen, then ask, ask, ask, ask until you understand the reasoning behind the other person’s feedback. It’s also useful to assume that the person giving you feedback has the same goals as you do, if you discover they don’t, maybe it’s time to realign your team.

Make it actionable

Finally, after you’ve understood the other’s perspective, make it actionable. This is the ultimate way to appreciate someone else’s time for giving you feedback. Some ways to make it actionable are:

  • Discuss if you disagree.
  • Create a new item on your to-do list based on the observation.
  • Put it in the backlog. In case you agree this is not a priority and can wait.
  • Let the users decide. Quickly prototype the idea and find a way to show it to real users.
  • Change it right away. If you’re working on a computer and you agree on the feedback, don’t wait.

I hope these simple ideas will make you a better feedback-taker.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or over twitter @ lulomx

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lulo
Spotlight

lulo is a VP at frog and leads its business in Latin America. Oh, and he loves being wrong.