“True friendship is the courage to articulate what is going on to people what you really see in them – to tell them of the good and wonderful things you see, as well as the difficult and confrontational.” Yaron Golan
Whenever somebody gives you feedback in the normal course of your work or life, it is highly likely that you perceive it as negative feedback, meantime, they’re thinking that it’s just feedback for your own good. You feel defensive and possibly upset, because, after all, you’re doing your best. Or when you know that you were at fault, you are even more defensive. Yeah. Been there, seen the move, have the t-shirt!
Most people do not give feedback to someone else well. But without feedback, we simply don’t know how our actions are perceived.
Receiving feedback is something that most leaders also don’t do well. Get into the habit of asking your clients and team members for their feedback and follow these tips:
- Adopt a receptive posture (listen to the feedback as if it were a gift)
- Don’t be defensive (listen to the feedback as something to learn from)
- Listen (listen some more)
- Acknowledge (Paraphrase and summarise to ensure that you understand correctly)
- Thank (say “Thank you”)
Examples of great questions to ask when receiving feedback:
- “Please be more specific”
- “Can you give me another example”
- “I am still unclear why…”
After thanking the person giving you feedback, you do NOT need to defend your actions, or give reasons. The best posture to adopt is to decide how you will act from now, and inform the other person what you intend.
Yes, I understand, sometimes, feedback is criticism and may even be “unfair” and you do have reasons for behaving as you did. So what? Be the bigger person, and choose to accept the feedback with grace and what you will do with it.