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A “How-To” for Every MBA: Give and Receive Feedback (Part 1)

It’s no longer January, but isn’t every month of the year a good time to look at the way you work, with an eye towards improvement? Here at the Stern Oppy we’d like to think so! We wanted to take a deep dive into how to better receive constructive feedback as it is one of the most effective ways to improve performance. We gathered key lessons from top management experts, from Tim Ferriss to Angela Duckworth. Whether it’s feedback in your performance review or a mock interview, follow these invaluable insights to make your next conversation more productive and genuine.


“Don’t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple – many are just emotionally difficult to act upon.”

― Tim Ferriss

“I learned a lesson I’d never forget. The lesson was that, when you have setbacks and failures, you can’t overreact to them.”

― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Preserverance

“When people shy away from giving constructive feedback, it’s often because they’re afraid of hurting your feelings. But if they hear you talk about what you did wrong, the fear melts away. Start by saying something like, ‘I know that I tend to work quickly and sometimes overlook important details. I’d like to get better at that. Do you have any thoughts on how I could improve?’ And then, once you have them talking, you can ask, ‘And is there anything else I could be working to improve right now?’”

― Adam Grant, Harvard Business Review

“A fixed mindset about ability leads to pessimistic explanations of adversity, and that, in turn, leads to both giving up on challenges and avoiding them in the first place. In contrast, a growth mindset leads to optimistic ways of explaining adversity, and that, in turn, leads to perseverance and seeking out new challenges that will ultimately make you even stronger.”

― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

“If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise–ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.”

― Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” —Pierre-Marc-Gaston”

― Timothy Ferriss, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

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