10 Ways To Use Feedback To Land Your Next Promotion, According To a Career Coach

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Fanni Gabor59
Life & Career Coach I Recruiter
May 28, 2024 at 7:9AM UTC

We live and work in a culture of “nice,” where nice is not only the opposite of unkind, malicious or patronizing, but also a way of justifying institutional conflict avoidance. The only way to prevent the culture of “nice” from turning into a culture of “dishonesty” and “toxicity” is by giving and receiving honest and constructive feedback to each other.

We cannot do that if the primary driver of human interaction is the fear of hurting each other’s feelings. We’re trying to build a fair, open and honest corporate structure, but we’re so used to operating in a hierarchical and patriarchal structure that mirrors the parent-child and the teacher-student dynamic. While there is a hierarchy between managers and their direct reports, it is a professional relationship of two equal adults whose seniority and relation to each other will change over their careers. 

If you are a Type A person with a strong work ethic, a history of achieving ambitious goals with a list of new ones to tackle, and care about how you are perceived, you will experience anxiety. Anxiety is the urge to constantly push yourself. It shows your high emotional intelligence and ability to care deeply. Can you use your anxiety to your advantage? Can you identify what you can control in this situation? How can you improve the existing ways of working?

The way to manage your career is through soliciting feedback. From above, below and across. Not ego-driven flat praises, but hard, uncomfortable, honest and raw truth. The advice that will push you to become the best version of yourself is often the one that will make you uncomfortable. Receiving honest feedback is a guide towards a healthy path of success. Remember, the person giving you constructive feedback is just as uncomfortable as you. Holding compassion is key.

When asking for feedback, ask with intention. Bring curiosity about yourself. What are the rules? Whatever you make up. I try to follow Luvvie Ajayi Jones’s advice: “Did you mean it? Can you defend it? Did you say it with love?” Keep these tips in mind when asking for feedback to advance your career.

1. Invite feedback.

Be honest about your need to receive constructive and honest feedback. Acknowledge the person is likely afraid to hurt your feelings, but be willing to process the negative feelings that may arise regardless. Use this temporary feeling as a guide to your short and long-term decision making towards your growth.

2. Prepare for feedback.

Set a time and place for the meeting. Give and take about a week to prepare. 

3. Discuss feedback.

Lead by sharing your self-assessment. Then actively listen. Pay full attention to your manager’s constructive feedback. Ask clarifying questions and encourage specificity.

4. Appreciate feedback.

Thank the other for the courage it took to sit through a meeting that might have started out or may still be uncomfortable for both of you. Don’t commit to goals immediately. Schedule a follow-up meeting in the next week.

5. Process the feedback. 

Take time to simply allow yourself to feel how words are affecting your emotions. Give “bad” emotions space: instead of pushing them away, get curious about them. Journaling and writing down your thoughts will help you gain clarity, along with long walks, meditation, and just sitting with yourself.

6. Talk to your “inner circle.”  

I recommend involving others once you’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with uncomfortable feelings, as inviting new perspectives will inevitably stir things up again.

7. Talk to a coach.

An independent, neutral third party can help you get clarity and make decisions that are the most authentic to you. They help you identify your strength, values, needs and desires, so you know what to ask for from others in your life and how best to support them. They also help you decide what feedback to take and what to leave behind.

8. Follow up on feedback. 

In your follow up meeting, have an open conversation about your takeaways. Have your goals and next steps clearly outlined.

9. Reward and plan for more feedback.

Thank the others again for the honest feedback, and ask if they would like to receive honest feedback in return. Plan for your next feedback loop in a few weeks or months and specify a few areas of focus.

10. Celebrate feedback. 

Acknowledge how the experience brought you closer to your manager or coworker. Know your takeaways and allow your body’s stress cycle to complete. Take a walk, dance around, hug someone, journal and sit with your feelings before you move on to your action steps.

Not everyone will be open to a process as honest as this. Any win is a win. It takes time for people to trust each other and open up, especially in a professional setting. Identify bias and systemic injustices in the feedback. Don’t be discouraged or compromise your value of honesty. Feedback from others, like your own thoughts and emotions, are sources of information. They don’t define you. What you do with them defines you. 

What does doing your best mean to you? The choice is always yours.

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Fanni Gabor is a Mindful Career Coach based in Brooklyn, NY. Her coaching style is rooted in her meditation and yoga training as well as corporate recruitment experience. She coaches her clients through finding better work/life alignment so they can move with both more power & ease. You can find out more about Fanni and her work here.

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