How Do You Receive Feedback?

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Have you ever heard the words, “I have some constructive feedback” and cringed internally knowing that statement precedes negative feedback? Of course we all know this is meant to be constructive criticism but ….

In a previous blog on 'Feedback and Mindset', I covered how organisations can make receiving feedback easier and a productive element in individual and team development. This week I wanted to speak to you - yes ‘you’ the person reading this. How do you personally receive information that is counter to what you want to hear, and/or what you are currently doing?

In his book “Jack” CEO of GE Jack Welch shares such a moment:

“They [future leaders team] said we needed to redefine our current markets so that no business would have more than 10 per cent market share. That would force everyone to think differently about their business. This was the ultimate mind-expanding exercise as well as market expanding breakthrough. For nearly 15 years, I had been hammering away the need to be number one or number two in every market. Now this team was telling me that one of my most fundamental ideas was holding us back.”

How would you react?

How do you think your leadership team would react?

How do you think Jack Welch reacted?

“I told them I loved the idea.” - J. Welch, ‘Jack’ (Warner Books Inc.NY 2001 p. 202)

Some thoughts:

Redefine feedback - see it as the gift that it is and the opportunity to learn something from someone else's perspective

Accept all feedback without reacting - you do not have to agree or disagree with the feedback. Be thankful for it and consider why that person might have given it to you in that way and at that time.

Look to take something positive away from all communication - develop a continuous improvement mindset.

Suspend judgment and listen to understand. Receiving feedback does not mean you have to do or believe or even act on it. Receive it as a gift that you can choose to accept.

Look for patterns - are you getting a common theme in the feedback - if so maybe you would benefit from some deeper self-reflection.

Reflect back what you have heard to ensure you understood what was being said. Sometimes when we are sensitive it can skew or hearing.  

When you learn to take the sting out of feedback, then you can use it to grow and get closer to achieving your full potential!