In this section, we will revisit the feedback exchange between Amisi and Joan, and focus on some of the important components to consider when receiving, interpreting, and acting on feedback.
Communication Matters: Receiving Feedback
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Receiving and Interpreting Feedback
In order to effectively receive and interpret feedback, focus on actions that need to be changed. Remember that feedback is not personal—this can help you remain calm and professional. If you feel upset, give yourself the opportunity to think about the feedback objectively before reacting and responding defensively.
In the previous scenario, Amisi was open to assessing her own performance and recognized that she needed feedback. She was accountable for her actions and did not take Joan’s feedback personally. Amisi and Joan had already developed a professional relationship, which made the feedback session more relaxed and positive. This also helped Amisi accept Joan’s observations graciously.
Amisi also actively listened, clarified any issues that seemed vague, and summarized Joan’s concerns to ensure she understood the feedback. Feedback is a gift that will benefit you in the long run, and giving feedback can be difficult, so it’s important to be encouraging and appreciative when receiving feedback.
Creating an Action Plan
It is important to be able to act on feedback in order to benefit your practice and workplace performance. In the scenario between Amisi and Joan, they were able to communicate openly and use the feedback to develop an action plan that was SMART:
Specific — Saying “I will do better” is not specific. Saying that you understand the feedback and demonstrating this by repeating the particular action or adjustment that you need to do next time is more specific. For instance, next time Amisi will inform the doctor promptly when she is seeing a patient and has concerns about their health, and she will also follow-up with other colleagues involved in the patient’s care.
Measurable — When developing an action plan, you should think about how you will check your progress and ensure you are responding to the initial feedback provided. In Amisi’s case, this means following the protocols and best practices of her workplace and engaging in ongoing self-reflection and self-awareness to ensure she is communicating openly with team members.
Achievable — It is important that an action plan is realistic and can be achieved. For instance, Amisi can’t promise to never make another mistake. However, she can commit to using this information to improve her practice in a clear and achievable manner.
Relevant — The action plan should be relevant to your job and workplace performance. In this case, the feedback was specific to a situation involving Mr. Rose, but Amisi’s action plan is relevant to improve her overall practice and performance.
Time-bound — The time frame for acting on feedback in your action plan should be clearly defined. Sometimes feedback is given around an issue that will take some time to address (for instance, through continuing education), and this time frame should be clear in your action plan. However, in this scenario, the feedback is about an immediate change in practice and Amisi will act on what she and Joan have discussed starting immediately.