3 steps how to receive feedback, especially when it is unsolicited
We grow best by building on our strengths, not by constantly trying to correct our “weaknesses.” That’s the essence of positive psychology. Yet the overwhelming feedback we receive – even when solicited—is about correcting some failing. Often we take the feedback to heart, and we spend a lot of time and effort trying to figure where we went wrong. But should we? Do you really have a problem?
When you get feedback, especially if it unsolicited (and when it can be especially unwelcome), you need to take three steps: listen, reflect and respond.
- Listen – listen not to what just is said, but how it is said. This is not just about listening to the facts but the emotions expressed by the other person.
- Reflect – think about what was being said without being spoken what is not said, what the intent is of the person providing the feedback, and ask yourself these questions:
- Is it valid? Is there evidence to support the claim? What has been observed? Don’t accept someone’s opinion as fact.
- Is it relevant? Does it apply to you future behavior and success?
- Is it important? Is it worth doing something about?
The reason why it is important that you ask yourself these questions is that it is important that you spend your time and effort on what is important. You want to improve not only your current performance but also your future potential
The more time we spend trying to “correct” what others deem inadequate, the less time we have to invest in exploiting our own significant potential.
Respond – this does not need to be immediately after the feedback has been given. It is often useful to give yourself time to consider what response may be necessary or best.
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