How to Leverage Your Manager's Feedback

BU Logo
BetterUp Studios

10 min

Person holding an X

The results are in from your Manager Feedback Report. Now what? Learning to receive feedback with an open mind is critical to your future success.

When asked, “What’s the number one thing you look for in someone who can scale with a company?” Facebook COO and leadership expert Sheryl Sandberg replied, “Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

Consider the following four steps to help you maximize your learning and growth upon receiving your review.


Step 1

Keep perspective. The Manager Feedback Report is intended to be constructive, not destructive. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by unexpected feedback, nurture your curiosity and open-mindedness. Ask yourself good questions and set yourself the challenge of understanding the feedback on a deeper level.

Remember, feedback is a glimpse of how others perceive specific behaviors at a single point in time, not an enduring judgment of who you are as a person. One might even argue that if receiving feedback isn’t a little bit uncomfortable, it’s probably not very useful either.

Step 2

Process with your coach. If you're working with a coach, they can help you process feedback in a meaningful way. It can be helpful to discuss anything that you learned that surprised you, that delighted you, or that disappointed you. Processing with your coach first will help you be responsive rather than reactive when you discuss the feedback with your manager. Your coach can also help you:

  • Turn gaps into growth. It can be challenging to know how to proceed once you've identified a gap in your skillset.
  • Leverage strengths. Praise can be as paralyzing as criticism if you don't know how to use it properly.
  • Use feedback to set goals. Not every piece of feedback needs to lead to a new goal. You'll want to figure out what to incorporate into your coaching goals, and what you can set aside.

Step 3

Engage your manager. It is crucial to bring up the feedback in a conversation with your manager. But how? Depending on your relationship with your manager, you may do some or all of the following:

  • Express gratitude. It is essential to thank your manager for their time and input. Positive or negative, acknowledge some key takeaways of what they shared.
  • Clarify. If you’re unclear about any aspects of the feedback, you can ask your manager to provide more context. Your manager may not remember exactly what they wrote, so it can be helpful to bring a copy of your report when seeking clarification on specific points.
  • Share. To further engage a supportive manager, you may choose to share how their feedback informed any goals created in collaboration with your coach.
  • Engage support. One advantage of sharing your goals is that it helps you engage your manager’s support and creates accountability.
  • Check in. To encourage the continuation of positive feedback cycles, you might request a specific time to check in.

Step 4

Discuss with colleagues. Talking through growth areas with colleagues whom you trust gives them a chance to support you.

While it may seem counterintuitive or uncomfortable, being vulnerable and sharing your imperfections is a key leadership trait found in many top performers.

quote image
Vulnerability is not weakness…vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.
- Brené Brown
BetterUp Studios
BetterUp Studios creates and curates research-backed content, activities, and tools to help people everywhere pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

Recommended Resources

Card image cap

Building an Inclusive Culture

Learn how fostering a culture of inclusiveness can help encourage employees to participate more freely in meetings and other workplace situations.

5 min

Card image cap

Only Have 30 Minutes Before a Difficult Conversation? Do This.

We don't always have the time to thoroughly prepare for the difficult conversations in our lives. If you find yourself facing a difficult conversation with just a few minutes to spare, follow the tips in this article.

10 min