Getting Feedback You Disagree With
Whatever the circumstances for you getting feedback you don’t agree with first press the pause button. However annoying, disheartening, frustrating or even cruel it feels, you need to understand feedback properly before you can accept or reject it.
2. Avoid defensiveness.
Easy to say, harder to do. In the moment – listen, reflect back and ask questions of clarification. Be brave enough to say, “I appreciate your feedback. I’d like some time alone to reflect on what you have said before I respond further”.
3. Look for what is right.
It’s so easy to pick holes in someone else’s feedback, particularly when you don’t agree with it. Instead ask yourself what might be right about it.
4. Reflect back.
Think about the past – what might have created this view? Check back with the person giving the feedback and ask for examples from the past.
5. Look forward.
Is the person giving you feedback worried about something that hasn’t yet occurred? Ask them how they imagine this feedback might play out in the future?
In the moment or straight after, jot down your thoughts about what you heard. Do it as soon as possible so it’s fresh in your mind.
2. Check with someone else.
As soon as you feel equalised (hopefully not raging with anger or tearful) ask someone you trust, who knows you well, what could be right about the feedback.
3. Acknowledge it.
People say receiving feedback is a gift. You might find it easier to start by accepting that you now know the other person’s point of view. This puts you in a much clearer position – and for this you should be grateful.
4. Put the boot on the other foot.
Spend 30 minutes thinking in the shoes of the person giving the feedback. What is their motive? Giving tough feedback is almost as hard as receiving it and sometimes the ‘giver’ lacks skill to do it well.
5. Have humility.
We like the definition of humility as modesty, humbleness, lack of pride or lack of vanity. If you can channel any of those traits you will immediately feel better.
Key advice: don’t expect to be able to complete all these tips and actions quickly. There’s lots to be done. Start and be patient and thorough.
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