What is an Olympic athlete without a coach to provide feedback and direction? For Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, that coach is Bob Bowman. He first coached Michael at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and later with the U.S. Olympic Team. The knowledge possessed by a coach can help an athlete achieve success throughout their playing career. More importantly, how this knowledge is communicated to the athlete can determine the level of success. Practice and feedback are without a doubt, the most effective approaches in achieving Olympic level status. All athletes need continuous feedback to improve their game.

While it may be unpleasant for some, frank professional feedback is part of project management. It should always be viewed in a positive way. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it may even help rescue your project.

Legitimate constructive feedback helps you grow in your professional role, mature as an individual and makes you more aligned with the needs of the project and/or your team. It can also provide a clearer picture of what is expected from you or the project, and in turn, increase your efficiency. It may ultimately pave the pathway to your project’s success.

Think about this scenario.  An important stakeholder in your project has called for a meeting with you, expressing she has ‘concerns’ about the project. Do you delay until you can find out what her concerns are through other channels, hoping to fix issues in advance?

Welcome the meeting; don’t take the feedback personally, strive to see their perspective, put yourself in their shoes, and seek to understand what drives their concerns. Be ready to listen openly and actively, and where appropriate, collaborate with the stakeholder to identify a workable solution to the feedback being expressed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t take feedback and professional criticism personally, encourage it
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better understanding of what’s required
  • If the feedback is from a team member, welcome it, and seek the truth
  • Thank the person (sincerely) for their feedback, and encourage more
  • Learn how to give professional feedback