Last week we covered giving feedback and discussed 4 important factors to take into account when doing so.  These included the timing of any feedback given, who else may be listening, balance and your position in the recipient’s life.  So this week, let’s think about receiving feedback because let’s face it, if you’re going to give it…

Now, as discussed last week, feedback has two basic forms – positive and constructive (well, hopefully it’s constructive!)  The positive feedback is complimentary and advice on receiving that can probably be covered in one word – humility.  However the constructive feedback may be somewhat harder to stomach since sometimes the giver may seem hell bent on destroying your confidence.

Here’s the thing – ignore the giver’s communication ability.  It is, after all, irrelevant.  Simply distil the message, put it on the shelf with all the other messages and take a look at them all later.  No single piece of feedback should be given excessive importance in your life.  Gather all the feedback together and look for patterns or themes.  If these exist, well, maybe you should seek more information and consider a change in your behaviour, service or product. 

But here’s the first thing you’ve got to get over before you do – Yourself.  We are often our own worst enemies when receiving feedback and sometimes it doesn’t matter how sensitively it is given or how well-meaning it is.  More to the point, our egos just can’t handle anything approaching negativity.  Well, I’ve got news for you – if your reactions to feedback are negative and you get a reputation for this then feedback will dry up quickly.  That’s bad!

When feedback dries up you don’t know what people are saying and thinking about you so you develop a false sense of reality.  Does that sound healthy for your business?  Are you likely to learn from your customers, colleagues and associates?  Is the absence of this knowledge likely to hold you back?

Feedback is a gift.  Ignore the wrapping it comes in, learn from it and grow.

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From those in Heels