Four Ways to Accept Feedback from Your Employees

Being a great leader means giving and receiving feedback. Feedback and communication between managers and employees is a two-way street. Just as managers have feedback for their employees, their employees may have some feedback for them as well. Allowing employees to share their opinions makes them feel valued and appreciated. This can lead to a happier and more engaged workforce. Another reason why upward feedback is so important is the fact that it allows managers to learn about themselves and their management styles. Getting insight from employees can be very useful in determining what management techniques are working and what areas could use some improvement. Soliciting upward feedback also helps to set an example and encourages a culture where feedback is important. This boosts the level of trust between managers and employees. All that said, receiving upward feedback isn’t always easy and can even feel threatening or intimidating. However, managers need to set the stage so everyone feels comfortable giving and receiving feedback. Here are four tips for how to accept feedback from your employees. 


  1. Encourage It

The first step in accepting feedback from employees is letting them know you actually want to hear it. For starters, you should include something in the employee handbook about encouraging feedback. You also want to reiterate it in meetings and across company-wide emails that you are eager to get feedback from your employees about yours and the rest of the organization’s performance. Make it known that feedback is important to you and that your organization values the opinions of its staff. Let your employees know that you are open to constructive criticism and you welcome ideas for improving the organization.


  1. Make it Possible

It’s not enough to simply say that you are eager for feedback. You need to show it by offering easy ways for employees to provide it. You could do something like placing a suggestion box in the office breakroom or you could send out a quarterly survey. You should also implement an open-door policy where employees are welcome and encouraged to share their concerns and ideas with management. 


  1. Control Your Emotions and Listen

It’s never easy to accept constructive criticism, but remember that the purpose is to make your team better. Try not to take things personally and avoid getting defensive and justifying your behavior. Doing so will defeat the purpose of encouraging feedback and your employees will never feel comfortable speaking up again. Rather, listen attentively and ask for specific examples that illustrate their feedback. Focus on trying to understand the feedback rather than your next response. 


  1. Summarize and Reflect on What was Said

Once the person has finished speaking, try summarizing what they said to be sure you understand them correctly. If necessary, ask questions to clarify. Then, rather than making excuses or defending yourself, simply thank them for their feedback and assure them that you will reflect on what was discussed.