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How honest should you be when your manager asks for feedback? There’s an art to figuring out what to say—and how to say it.

Surprise is crucial for learning. If you do something, and the outcome is exactly what you expect, there is nothing to learn. You should do the same thing the next time you’re in that situation.

A paradox about getting feedback, though, is that we often want to get feedback that confirms that we are doing the right thing. It feels good to be told that we’re on the right track. Indeed, we often resist feedback we get from others that points out things that we need to change. Yet, we cannot improve our knowledge and skills without finding out the weaknesses we have unless someone or something provides evidence of what we need to do better.

This is the context in which you have to decide what to tell a manager (or another more senior person in your organization) who asks for feedback.

Here are three things to consider:


The people who are most likely to embrace negative feedback (after an initial period of grief . . .) are those who have adopted a growth mindset in which they expect to continue to develop their knowledge and skills. A growth mindset enables someone to treat negative feedback as an opportunity rather than a sign of long-term limitations.

Read the complete Fast Company article BY ART MARKMAN:

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