Think of a time you received constructive criticism or negative feedback from a boss. What did you like or dislike about it? Maybe they were overly critical or perhaps too timid to share the feedback you needed to hear.
Too often, we are trained on how to receive feedback. However, one of the most important aspects of feedback is understanding who delivers it and their social style. Social style determines how people give you feedback. Four social styles exist in the workplace — Analytical, Driver, Amiable, and Expressive. To improve your ability to manage feedback, it’s essential to understand who gives it. Here are tips on how to receive feedback from each personality style.
1. Feedback from an Analytical
The Analytical is reserved, slow-paced, and cautious.
What to expect: Analytical people are logical thinkers who focus on processes and procedures. Because of this, they are hesitant to change and avoid involvement with others. Their structured nature makes them lack enthusiasm or appear detached when they deliver criticism.
How to manage: Plan ahead and have facts ready. When you are presenting your progress, demonstrate it in an organized manner/timeline. Do not take their lack of enthusiasm or emotion as a sign they don’t care. They likely do.
2. Feedback from a Driver
The Driver is decisive, fast-paced, and results-oriented.
What to expect: Drivers like to be ahead of the game. Since they tend to focus less on relationships and more on results, expect more spontaneous check-ins or commentary regarding tasks — big or small. Drivers’ decisive nature makes them more direct and to the point when they deliver feedback. They prioritize time and efficiency, leaving them very impatient.
How to manage: Always be prepared and timely. Drivers don’t like to feel like a project is behind schedule. Make sure your ideas are concrete and specific. Anticipate follow-up questions and have solutions ready. Don’t take any of their comments personally, since they are only focused on the task at hand.
3. Feedback from an Amiable
The Amiable is relationship-oriented, supportive, and friendly.
What to expect: Amiable people prefer to personalize all endeavors, which is why they prioritize relationships and are conscious of other people’s feelings. They are very social and great team players. Since Amiables are indecisive and aim to avoid conflict, they are not always direct or clear when delivering feedback.
How to manage: Be patient. Anticipating the conversation may take longer to get to the root of the feedback. Don’t interpret their indirect approach as a sign of weakness. If you prefer to have more direct feedback, ask them to do so.
4. Feedback from an Expressive
The Expressive is futuristic, imaginative, and enthusiastic.
What to expect: Expressive people like to be involved. Expressives focus more on feelings, rather than logic. Because of this, they are impulsive decision-makers and constantly change directions. When delivering feedback, their outspoken and spontaneous nature will most likely offer a variety of suggestions.
How to manage: Have an open mind and expect the unexpected. Go into each feedback session expecting change and potentially new insights. Be flexible and prepare to make adjustments at any time. Expressives are visionaries who do not like to settle for less than the best.