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Updated: Oct 27, 2022



Receiving feedback can be one of THE most challenging experiences an individual can face. We typically don’t ask for feedback because we are afraid of what we might hear, and when we do ask for feedback, we often don’t receive it well and, therefore, we don’t act on it. If the feedback is positive, we may downplay it and wish we had received some feedback that we can work on to improve. If the feedback is negative or constructive, we may disregard it as being inaccurate or explainable. The feedback process ends up being a waste of time for everyone.

Now you turn the feedback process on its head by "mastering feedback in 7 words".


7 words

1. ASK

Some may be reluctant to offer unsolicited feedback, especially if it is negative or constructive, because they aren’t sure if it is wanted, they aren’t sure how it will be received, or they think it won’t be appreciated. To remove this uncertainty and to put the feedback giver at ease, simply ask. Sincerely asking for feedback provides the feedback giver the safety they need to give authentic feedback. Just ask and then prepare to listen.


While hearing positive feedback can be easy, hearing negative or constructive feedback can be difficult, and we often make it more difficult by “listening to respond” or “listening to defend” rather than “listening to understand”. While receiving feedback, resist the urge to respond in the moment and the urge to defend yourself regarding the feedback you are receiving. Just relax and truly listen to the feedback and accept it as the gift that it is.


After fully listening to the feedback, thank the feedback giver for sharing their valuable thoughts with you. A sincere “thank you” will show your appreciation and increase your chances of receiving requested feedback again in the future.


Next, take ample time to think about the feedback you received. Don’t defend, don’t judge, and don’t overreact. Ask yourself questions like what does the feedback mean? What do I need to do based on the feedback? Do I need to modify some behavior? Do I need to start or stop doing something? Do I need to do more or less of something? Do I need assistance in some way to grow and develop? And so on and so on.


After thoroughly thinking through the feedback, identify intentional actions you will take to act upon what you learned. For positive feedback, identify steps you can take to ensure your positive behaviors and actions continue; to broaden the impact of your positive behaviors and actions; and to take the positive behaviors and actions to an even greater level. For negative or constructive feedback, identify steps you can take to address the answers to the questions you explored in the "think" step above. For example, if you identify the need to modify some behavior, let's say based on feedback that you don't share enough of your expertise with your teammates, what specific action will you take to address this opportunity? Perhaps you will plan to intentionally contribute during every future team meeting, or schedule periodic one-on-one meetings with each of your teammates to exchange thoughts and ideas. Once you have identified intentional actions based on the feedback you have considered, you will have your roadmap to success.

6. DO

As they say at Nike, now it's time to just do it! After putting in the effort to identify actions you will take to address the feedback you received, be intentional about executing your plan. Keep in mind that success may not happen overnight. It may take time for change to happen, for behavior modification to stick, and for your intentional action to yield results. The important thing is to execute your plan, and the results will come.


Mastering feedback doesn't end once you begin executing your plan in the "do" step above. You will likely implement an action, review its effectiveness, adjust accordingly, and then work on or practice the action again until mastery is attained. An effective way to heighten your chance of success is to enlist the support of an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who, once made aware of your action plan, can provide insights on how you are doing on your plan. They can share positive reinforcement when they observe you succeeding in your efforts, and they can highlight missed opportunities if you fall short of your intentional action. Lastly, the absolute best way you can demonstrate your "mastery of feedback in 7 words" is to review your efforts with the original feedback giver. Share with them how you truly listened to and deeply thought about their feedback, and how you created and implemented an intentional action plan to grow and develop. Then ask them if they have seen a noticeable change. If they have, they will likely feel good about being part of your successful journey and offer positive reinforcement. If they have not yet had the opportunity to observe a noticeable change, they will at least know you are working on it and be on the lookout for the change. If they have observed and feel you have not changed, that highlights the need for you to revisit the "plan" step, revise, as necessary, your identified intentional actions, and then "do" and "review" again. Your intentional effort will pay off in the end.



That's it! Now that you have "mastered feedback in 7 words", you are ready to give it a try. Select an item for which you would like some feedback, and identify someone who is well positioned to provide you with relevant feedback. Then demonstrate your newfound "mastery of feedback in 7 words":

  1. ASK for feedback.

  2. LISTEN to the feedback.

  3. THANK the giver for the feedback.

  4. THINK about the feedback.

  5. PLAN to do something about what you learned.

  6. DO your best on the plan.

  7. REVIEW what you have done.

You've got this. Now give it a try and integrate feedback into your individual development plan.

To learn how Success Minder can help you succeed through transformational coaching and customized HR consulting, review our website at and contact us directly through the website or through LinkedIn.

I wish you nothing but success.

Dan – Founder at Success Minder

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1 Comment

Andrea Suzanne
Andrea Suzanne
Oct 27, 2022

Awesome tips! I think that feedback is an important part of a person's individual growth process, whether it be personal or professional, and I think these 7 words for mastering feedback that you mentioned sum it up very well. Reading this makes me realize how essential feedback is, and I wish I could get more feedback in my professional life. I will definitely use some of these tips to try and seek feedback, while also using the tips on how to prepare myself for receiving whatever feedback I get. The other thing I thought about while reading this was how I can use these tips in a way when I am the one GIVING the feedback rather than receiving it,…

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