How To Get Better At Receiving Feedback

Strategies to level up your feedback game

Tom Barrett
7 min readAug 19, 2022


This month, our throughline for dialogue and reflection is The First Principles of Feedback: Harness the Fundamentals of Effective Critique. We explore the various components of the feedback dynamic, including a return to the basics, what makes a difference in giving and receiving critique, and a cycling metaphor to stretch our thinking.
#279 | August 19, 2022​ | Tom x Midjourney

What goes wrong when receiving feedback?

Let’s start by exploring the typical traps and issues when receiving feedback. As you explore these scenarios, tune into your experiences and stories of when feedback didn’t work.

Too Quick to Judge

When connection and trust are missing, the receiver might be too quick to judge the content of the feedback. They seek out the loophole that enables them to dismiss it outright. When this happens, we tend to get upset and defensive rather than curious and open.

Losing Sight of the Goal

It is easy to forget why we asked for feedback in the first place or why we are having this conversation. We can lose sight of the goal and get caught up in our egos. Remember, the goal is to improve, not to be correct.

Not Being Ready

Sometimes we are just not ready to hear feedback. Our brain is not in a state to take it in. This can be for various reasons, such as being too tired or overwhelmed.

Misinterpret the Signal

The receiver of feedback can often misinterpret the signal. They might think the feedback is about them when it is really about their behaviour. Or the feedback signal gets scrambled in transit and is heard as something it wasn’t intended to be.

Defend Your Ideas

As we invest time and energy in our projects, we get attached to our ideas and view feedback as an attack we must defend. It is important to remember that feedback is about the idea, not about you as a person.

Imprecise Invitations



Tom Barrett

Re-discover the curiosity you had when you were 6. Learning, Leadership, Innovation. Join Medium to support my writing << Affiliate link