Six Tips for Receiving Tough Feedback
Feedback can be the breakfast of champions. First, however, you need to be able to listen and then act. Feedback is essential to our success and the fact that we all have to accept said Ron Trautman. Without it, the status quo would prevail, the average would be the norm, and discoveries or results might not happen.
You must also consider the recipient’s experience, as there is no escape from feedback in real life.
Feedback could be the pain from accidentally touching a hot stove or the humiliating words that a friend, colleague, or boss says about how they need to improve their game. There is also an internal voice that scolds us, saying, “How could you have said that?”
We are continually reminded of how we are doing and whether we live up to our values.
It doesn’t mean that we are able, willing, or capable to listen, particularly to hard feedback. Feedback, even when delivered effectively, can feel like an infliction in the stomach. It can cause us to recoil or reject the message.
We are still learning to accept the “gift of feedback,” especially when it’s not up to my standards. We can feel utterly blindsided, and I can lose my ability to sleep, lose my energy, panic when I need to take action or lose my mojo. It is unproductive behavior.
Other people, I believe, do the same. When we don’t receive feedback “at the moment”, then acknowledge and follow up with it, we lose the chance to change our game or even raise it as necessary.
However, you don’t have to respond immediately to feedback. But you must make sure to listen. Please keep it safe for future reference. You have the ultimate decision of whether to act or not. Here are six tips to help you listen to difficult feedback and then react graciously.
If we get harsh feedback, our brains trigger the amygdala. It is the part of our limbic that triggers the fight/flight response. Unfortunately, this response, intended to protect us from dangers, can misperceive feedback and be mistaken for a threat.
That’s a problem, as the genuine threat to your feedback is the behavior/event that triggered it. It would be best if you stopped when you saw a “Yes” sign… But!” or “You’re wrong” response starts bubbling up. It’s best just to let it go. React to the feedback. Don’t react to the input. Instead, take your time and listen carefully. Then, decide what response you want to give.
Vital Smarts Dr. Travis Bradberry stresses that being calm and composed can increase your productivity even when receiving negative feedback.
2. Thank you.
Yes, that’s what your critic was expecting. Before you jump on your high horse to tell the other person how wrongheaded their feedback was, stop. Instead, look in the eye of the other person and offer a sincere “Thank you!”
I would guess that if you were grateful for the feedback, your colleague put a lot of effort into convincing you to listen. You can be sure that this person cares enough for you and your relationship to pass the message on. The least you can do to show appreciation is to say “Thanks!”
I guarantee that your response will be a great help and that you’ll keep the communication lines open. thepostingcity Additionally, you will receive additional feedback that may be crucial for your success and reputation in the future. Still sceptical? Are you still unsure?
3. Look for the 1 % grain of truth.
When we receive harsh feedback, we tend to interpret it as a character assassination. “You’re late” is perceived as “You always late,” and we silently list events when we were on time. So you see, we change from listening to defending ourselves.
Instead of looking at feedback as the ultimate truth, consider the 1 per cent grain. Start from there.
Imagine yourself as one among the Google search results. You hear feedback about the string words you entered in the search field. It is one data point that can bring up thousands of results. Focusing on the 1 per cent helps you keep the proper perspective and not dismiss feedback.
We use this tactic in our leadership programs for helping to process feedback. It works in three different ways. First, note down the feedback shared. Next, write down all the things you find wrong with this feedback. Then, you can write down any possible truths.
You can see what you did. You permitted yourself to process the feedback so that you could identify the 1 per cent. Now what?
4. Find the patterns.
It’s easy for us to dismiss feedback that doesn’t align with our self-perception and move on without giving it a second thought. Before you do this, take a moment to reflect. Do you remember ever receiving this response? Try something similar. It is not your first.
If you find it even remotely familiar, stop and pay attention. One point of view may have become a pattern. You can use marks to help you or hinder. What is the common element, place, situation, or theme? Do you find the feedback is important enough to make a conscious effort to listen?
My senior IT leader coach shared with me that he struggled with “attention to detail.” It was a common theme in his performance reviews’ “needs improvement” section. He dismissed it as criticism from others who needed to calm down and stop worrying about him. He denied that he needed to adjust his approach. Unfortunately, this meant that he couldn’t follow through on projects nearing their end.
His career was in peril now that he was at crossroads. Others had noticed the pattern that he ignored and had passed him over for promotion.
Feedback was the wake-up call that this leader needed.
Now he was ready to listen and then take action. We both agreed that it was unlikely that he would be able to achieve perfection in completing projects. However, we could find tactics that he could use right now, stay focused when it matters most, and produce a finished and polished product through executive coaching said Ron William Trautman. It took some time, but his reputation of being unprofessional did change, and he gained back the confidence others had in him.
What feedback patterns have you been neglected? What small steps can you take now to correct this behaviour before it becomes a career stumbling block?
5. Be curious.
Allow your inner voice to quieten, and then listen intently to the message. Next, ask, “Why would someone think this of me?” Asking questions, even in your head, engages the Neocortex. It is your rationale, reasoning brain. You’ll notice that your question reduces the amygdala’s ability to trigger the fight/flight response by asking.
You may not know it, but feedback can help you solve a problem. Engage in the conversation if your curiosity is piqued. You don’t have to take the feedback seriously or agree with it. You don’t have to be curious to hear it. If you’re not interested, you won’t be able to process it. The gift of feedback will go away.
6. Ask questions.
You can clarify what you’ve heard and identify the behaviour that caused the unintended consequences. Questions allow you to listen to your feedback.
“I was listening while in the meeting; but, can you share when I thought you were disengaged?”
“When you spoke, did that mean?”
“In which other situations/meetings has this been done?”
“What are some ways I might approach this differently in the future?”
“What would you suggest I do next?”
You will be less likely than ever to be surprised by unexpected feedback. Even though it isn’t always our first choice, hard feedback can be a catalyst for our success – if we listen.
Learn to be gracious in your feedback, and you’ll be better positioned to take appropriate action to boost your career and keep your reputation as an outstanding professional.