Career Success Tips for Giving and Receiving Feedback

We all need a little praise and reinforcement every now and then.  People who take the time to hand out a little praise to their colleagues brand themselves as a positive person.  Here are 21 ways to provide some positive feedback to a colleague.  If you put this career advice to work, you’ll be on the way to branding yourself as a trusting, caring colleague – and creating the career success you deserve.

21 Ways to Provide Positive Feeback

  1. I’m proud that you’re one of my teammates.
  2. Congratulations on a terrific job.
  3. You’re so helpful.  Thank you.
  4. You keep improving every day.  You’re an inspiration.
  5. Thanks so much for your consistent effort and results.
  6. I really admire your perseverance.
  7. Your mood always lifts the team’s spirit.
  8. You’re a champion in my book.
  9. Wow, what an incredible accomplishment!
  10. Great effort.  You make us all look good.
  11. I have great confidence in you.
  12. You’ve grasped the concept and details well.
  13. Your skills are sensational.
  14. Your results are outstanding.
  15. Your efforts really make a difference.
  16. You are a bonus to our team
  17. You’re a valuable part of this team.
  18. You always delight our customers.
  19. You make our team’s vision come alive.
  20. Your accomplishments inspire the entire team.
  21. Everybody notices the effort you put in.

Of course, each of these statements should be preceded by a descriptive example of exactly what the person you are complimenting actually did or accomplished.  Also, this type of feedback should come as close as possible to the actual event you are recognizing.

Use these tips, and you will soon find yourself in a leadership position and the people you lead will follow you anywhere.

On the other hand, it’s always good to know how to respond to a compliment.  Tweet 74 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “When someone compliments you, just say ‘thank you.’  When someone criticizes you, say ‘thank you, I’ll work on that’.”

While giving feedback can be a difficult interpersonal skill to master, receiving feedback graciously may be an even more difficult to master.  I think it all comes down to self-confidence.

Confident people accept positive feedback in the spirit in which it was given.  They don’t discount it.  On the other hand, confident people accept negative feedback for what it is – the opinion of one other person.  They listen to what is being said, and then decide what – if anything – they’re going to do about the feedback.  Whether it’s positive or negative, confident people respond to feedback in a gracious manner.

If your confidence or self-esteem is a little low, you might have a tendency to respond to positive feedback inappropriately.  When someone compliments you, do you say something like, “It was nothing,” or “Anybody could have done it,” or “It really wasn’t that big of a deal?”  This is unassertive behavior and it marks you as someone lacking in confidence.

Besides that, it discounts the feedback and the person who is giving it to you.  When someone compliments you on a job well done and you say, “It was nothing,” you’re questioning the other person’s judgment.  You may not realize it but you are.  He or she took the time to compliment you.  The appropriate response is, “Thank you.”  You might want to add something like, “Your feedback means a lot to me.  I value your opinion.”

Don’t discount yourself, your accomplishment, or the other person by minimizing what you accomplished.  On the other hand, don’t overinflate the feedback.  Take it for what it is: a comment on something you did well.

Negative feedback can be a little more difficult to take.  You can feel attacked personally.  My best career advice is to not take negative feedback personally.  Don Miguel Ruiz’s little book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, is a favorite of mine.  “Don’t take anything personally” is the second of the four agreements.

Don Miguel Ruiz explains it this way…

“Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

This is great advice for accepting negative feedback.  Remember that feedback is a projection of the other person’s reality.  It may be correct.  It may be incorrect.  That’s why I always advise my career success coach clients to respond to negative feedback by saying, “Thank you.  I’ll work on that.”  By saying this, you are acknowledging the feedback and the person who provided it.  You are not committing to doing anything specific about it.

You should think about the feedback and then decide what to do.  It may be nothing, or you may choose to make some significant changes in your behavior.  The important career success coach point here is that you get to decide how you will deal with feedback.

Here are some common sense coach points on what to do when you’re presented with negative feedback…

  • Avoid being defensive – don’t try to justify what you did or didn’t do.  Listen to understand.  Ask questions to make sure you completely understand what the other person is saying.
  • Don’t fight – accept the feedback, even if it makes you angry.  Take time to reflect.  You can always have another conversation if you think the feedback was inaccurate or unfair.  You’ll be calm, and in a better position to make your points.
  • Listen attentively – make sure the other person knows you’re paying attention by your body language, facial expression and questions.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  You can create positive personal impact by providing your colleagues with positive feedback when they do something you appreciate.  Follow the 21 tips above and you’ll be able to build strong relationships at work.  You can also build your brand by responding to feedback – both positive and negative – appropriately.  As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, never take anything personally.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 74 in Success Tweets.  “When someone compliments you, just say ‘Thank you.’  When someone criticizes you, say ‘Thank you.  I’ll work on that.’”  If you follow this advice, you will become known as someone who responds to feedback graciously.  And, those kinds of people always create positive personal impact and are on the road to their life and career success..  This is great common sense career advice.  I urge you to put it to work.

That’s my career advice on how to give positive feedback — and accept any kind of feedback.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you taking your valuable time to read what I have to say.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.


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