People are oftentimes taught how to give feedback but I’ve never heard of anyone being taught how to receive it.
As a society, the vast majority of us would rather skip this part of communication, especially if the feedback isn’t positive. There are many dynamics at play during feedback sessions that stem from both the giver and the receiver. The giver may be apprehensive to give it and the receiver may misinterpret it. But the fact of the matter is, good solid feedback can be the very thing that helps get us to the next level.
There was a time in my daughter’s life when she received feedback as a sign of not being good enough or that she had failed. I discussed with her that if she’d start looking at feedback as a way to up her game, she’d start welcoming it instead of using it to berate herself. She realized that by taking off the, I’m a failure, I can’t do anything right filter she could see the real value that the feedback provided. Soon, she started looking at it from the standpoint of, what is in this that I can use to benefit me and my life experience? This enabled her to gain more insight, awareness, and inspiration.
When receiving feedback, if you are looking for those beneficial aspects, it becomes an advantageous tool for you to use rather than something to knock you down.
A good guideline when receiving feedback is to pay attention to what triggers you. There’s a high probability that that’s where the most growth can occur.
Intention setting is another good practice when receiving feedback. This might include pondering such things as:
- Establishing how I want to receive the feedback.
- Setting my intention to find the gift in it.
- Realizing this isn’t a personal attack on me but contains discernible information that I can use constructively.
- Using clarifying questions to ensure that I’m getting the most benefit from the feedback.
Most importantly, if strong defenses go up during a feedback session, it’s best to take a pause, set clear intentions, and try again at a later time. And remember, the more comfortable you get in giving and receiving feedback, the easier these exchanges become.