Feedback is the breakfast that champions of the world eat. However, it’s important to be able and able to listen to the message and act accordingly.
I shared tips and advice for how to communicate a difficult message last month. It’s also important to consider the recipient’s experience, since there’s no escape feedback in life.
Feedback could refer to the pain we feel when we accidentally touch a hot stove burner or the humiliating words a friend or coworker says about how we need change. Then there is that internal voice, which tells us to stop saying that. Crunch
We are constantly reminded of what we are doing, or whether we live up to our personal expectations.
Feedback is fundamental to our success. If there was no input, the Status quo will prevail, and”average” would prevail “average” would become the norm, and any new developments and results might not happen.
Unfortunately, we may not be able to listen and respond to even the most difficult feedback. Feedback is often described by Amy Jen Su in the Harvard Business Review. It can feel like a punch to the stomach and cause us to reject it outright.
My personal journey to accepting the gift of feedback is still ongoing, even when it does not match my expectations. I can be frightened for days, weeks or even months. May lose my sleep, panic, hesitate about what I should do, or lose my mojo. I do not like this behavior.
My belief is that others do the exact same. If we don’t listen to feedback in-the moment, then acknowledge it and act on it instead of worrying about it, we lose an chance to improve our game and raise it, as required.
Although you can’t always act right away, it is important to listen when feedback comes in. Listening is important. It is a good idea to keep it in your files for future reference. It is your decision whether you act or not. Here are six suggestions for listening to hard feedback and responding graciously.
When we receive harsh feedback, the amygdala triggers in our brains. This is the limbic part responsible for the fight/flight response. Unfortunately, the response we use to protect ourselves from dangers may misunderstand what is happening as threat.
It’s a problem because it is the actual threat that created the need to give feedback. Be ready to stop at the first sign of a yes. . . But! or You’re wrong response starts bubbling up. Remain calm. Don’t respond to the feedback. Instead, wait and listen to all the messages. Then, choose your response.
Vital Smarts’ Dr. Travis Bradberry explains that it is important to keep calm, especially when you receive harsh feedback.
2. Say Thank You!
I get it, your critic wasn’t expecting that. Be careful not to get all cocky and tell your critic how wrong-informed their or her feedback was. Instead, take a deep breath and look the other way and express your gratitude.
My guess is that, if you found the feedback valuable, your colleague would have spent a lot more effort in convincing you to give it. Most likely, the person is concerned enough about you and your relationship that they want to share this message. The minimum you could do.
I promise that that reply will help you stand out and most likely keep communication channels open. You might also get more feedback, which could prove to be vital for your reputation and success. Still skeptical? Are you still skeptical?
3. The 1 percent grain is the truth.
We often view difficult feedback as an attempt to assassinate our character. You’re always late is perceived as You were late , which causes us to silently list the events in which we were on time and early. The result is that we shift from listening to defending us.
Instead of taking feedback as absolute truth that applies everywhere, seek out the 1 percent grain. You can build from there.
You can think of yourself as a Google search result. The feedback that you are hearing is the string in which words were entered into the search box. One data point can return thousands. Focusing on the 1% helps you to see the big picture and not dismiss the feedback.
We share this strategy in our leadership programs. It helps to process feedback. It works: There are three ways to look at feedback. The first step is to write down all the feedback that has been shared. Next, list all of the negative feedback. Next, list all the possible truths that could be found in the feedback.
Look at what you just did. You allowed yourself to receive feedback in a manner that identified the 1%. Now, what are you going to do? London-Post
4. You can find the patterns.
It’s easy just to move on and ignore feedback that doesn’t fit our perception of ourselves. Be mindful of what you are doing before you dismiss it. Are you familiar with this feedback? Perhaps you could try something similar. You can give it back if you are new to this feedback.
It should sound even slightly familiar. One point has become a pattern. You can make patterns work for you or against you. What is the common factor? Is your feedback relevant enough for you to take notice?
The senior IT leader I was working with shared that he was a terrible at attention-to-detail . This issue was often highlighted in the need for improvement portion of his performance reviews. But he dismissed this criticism as others wanting to let him relax and stop worrying about being impractical. He rejected the suggestion that he might need a change in his approach.
He was driven to new projects by the excitement. Therefore, he found it difficult to follow through on projects nearing completion.
He was at a crossroads, and his future was in jeopardy. It was passed over for promotion after others noticed the pattern he had missed. He needed to hear feedback and was now ready for action.
He and I accepted the fact that he wouldn’t be able finish any projects flawlessly. Our executive coaching conversations helped us identify techniques that he could employ in the moment. We also learned how to keep him focused and to deliver a high-quality product. While it was slow, his reputation for being impatient did change. He also gained the confidence of others.
What feedback patterns were you neglecting? What steps can you take today to reverse this pattern?
5. With curiosity, listen.
You can quieten your inner voice and pay attention to the message. Ask, Why would someone think such a thing of me? Asking a question engages the brain’s neocortex, the gray matter. Your amygdala’s ability trigger the fight or flee response will be reduced by your asking a question.
Remember that feedback is the solution to any problem you might not have thought of. Participating in the discussion can be as easy as being curious. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the feedback. However, if you aren’t curious about the feedback, you won’t hear it and won’t be capable of processing it. You will also lose the gift that is feedback.
6. Ask questions.
The ability to ask questions will allow you clarify what you heard, identify the specific actions that have caused the unintended consequence, and thus truly listen to your feedback.
I was listening during the meeting; can you however share when you thought it was time for me to disengage?
- When you said —, did it mean –? ?
- In what other meetings/situations did you see me do this?
- What is your one suggestion to make this a better future?
- What would be your recommendation for me to do next?
If you follow these six tips, you’ll be less likely to be caught off guard when someone gives you unexpected response. It’s not something we should choose, but it can make us more successful if we are able to hear it.
Learn how to give feedback politely and you’ll be better equipped to make the right decisions to improve your career prospects and to maintain your reputation for being a consummate professional.