How to take feedback positively, especially when you didn’t ask for it

Feedback in Canadian workplace culture

Giving and receiving feedback from supervisors and colleagues is a common practice in Canadian workplace culture. You may find yourself slightly confused and unsure of how to respond when you receive feedback for the first time. If most of your professional experience has been in another culture where giving and receiving feedback is different, you may think to yourself: "I don't know what this means about my performance."

An Indeed article titled How to Handle Criticism in the Workplace offers nine useful steps. We have selected our favourite three tips: listen actively, try not to take it personally and process the feedback you receive and respond graciously.

Listen. Pay attention to the message and paraphrase how you understood it, starting with: "I hear (or I understand) that you are asking me to..."

Don't take it personally. The feedback being provided is about your work, not about yourself or who you are. The main goal is to improve the quality of your work.

Process the feedback and respond graciously. Rather than being defensive or giving excuses, ask what you can do differently next time.

If you are an immigrant professional and would like to learn more about feedback in the Canadian workplace, join our Clear Communication for Business workplace communication group and have a conversation with one of our career coaches.