The Feedback Receiver’s Mindset

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That a feedback receiving mindset is even necessary is news to some. And it’s not just news; it’s a mega dose of empowerment. In feedback training I’ve delivered, I’ve watched in real-time as early-in-career employees shifted their perspective — from wanting to learn how to receive feedback when it comes their way to now being ready to go get it.

This shift is a big deal.

It moves the receiver into a place of power, from passive recipient to proactive seeker. Of course, it’s still important to know how to receive feedback at the moment it’s coming to you — which we cover in the Constructive Feedback Online Course — but you’ll have far more opportunities to flex that muscle if you become the kind of feedback seeker experts in nearly every domain recognize as vital for improvement.

Quotes from Why is Feedback Important - a section in the Constructive Feedback course. 1. "A mistake to me equals I'm getting feedback." -Billie Jean King 2. "As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did." -Angela Duckworth 3. "The key to learning is feedback. It is nearly impossible to learn anything without it." -Steven D. Levitt 4. "The most successful are the most coachable." -Tim Grover

A feedback receiver’s mindset is about being a constant feedback seeker; it’s about going to get what you need (and putting yourself in positions to get what you don’t yet know you need). I’m reminded of this “go get it” attitude each day when I play fetch with my mini husky. When I throw the ball, her pursuit of going to get it is pure. Nothing else matters. Her entire focus is on going to get that ball.

Abstract painting of a small husky leaping in mid-air to get a yellow tennis ball.
Source: Cameron Conaway. Image created using Magic Media by Canva

Put another way, check out how the best wide receivers track down a ball in the air — including when defenders are trying to get it. They don’t just wait for it to arrive in their hands elegantly. They position themselves so that they go get it – otherwise someone else will.

The 4As of Receiving Feedback

To keep centering this mindset, you might find it helpful to leverage the 4As of Receiving Feedback:

  1. Aspire: a reminder to keep aspiring by centering your development through curiosity and a growth mindset.
  2. Active: pairing your receiver’s mindset work with Action and practicing Active listening when you receive feedback. If feedback you received is unclear, ask questions.
  3. Ask: a reminder to be a constant feedback seeker, to go get what you need. Your “asking” need not be only by literally asking others. You can ask yourself what you need and “go get it” by studying others. As a former mixed martial arts fighter from a small town, I likely spent as much time studying videos of Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques as I did practicing them on the mat.
  4. Accept: a reminder to eventually accept what you received so you can move on. To accept doesn’t necessarily mean to adopt the feedback; it just means you’ve reached what seems like a final level of clarity, and you are now ready to process the feedback.

As Tim Grover, legendary trainer of Michael Jordan, said at 16:26 on Scott Barry Kaufman’s The Psychology Podcast: “The most successful are the most coachable.” That is, as we covered in the course, in Tim’s experience, they are the most open to learning and the hungriest for feedback.

So ask yourself these questions in order:

  1. What is the #1 thing you want to improve right now?
  2. What’s your mindset for getting the feedback you need?


Before you go…

Share the feedback course below with someone who may benefit. Feedback is a team sport; the more we collectively improve, the more we can all learn from each other.

Constructive Feedback Video