Despite it seldom being very constructive we do get feedback all the time.
It may be the rejection of our proposal or the pat on the back for a job well done.
It’s worth thinking how best to receive feedback so that it is useful.
The first critical rule is to simply say thank you, whether the feedback is good or bad.
We may ask for some more clarity. If however we feel the need to explain why it is like it is, justifying the feedback that we have just received, then alarm bells should go off in our head.
This is a road to nowhere. Firstly because the person giving the feedback seldom cares and secondly because it activates our own biases to protect us from what is really going on. Thirdly, a poor reaction to feedback will guarantee we don’t get further feedback from that person.
If the feedback elicits an emotional response (anger, fury, a warm glow), then even more reason to do nothing with it until some time has passed. Once the emotion has calmed, then a few further questions are useful:
- How do I interpret this feedback?
- Does it confirm any other feedback or hunches I have about how I am doing?
- Why did this person give me this feedback now?
- What agenda, if any, does the person giving me feedback have?
- Are there things I should be doing differently as a result of this feedback?
Feedback is a gift. Receive it as such.
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