(Pardon the attempt at whimsical humor. Yet, the temptation can’t be resisted: Often people proclaim they want feedback, yet when they receive it, they shun it. This act of rebuffing data or the gift of someone’s perspective is rarely intentional; the ego acts in deceptive ways when protecting itself.)
To ensure you aren’t bothered by the attempts of others to support your development, here are the top 5 responses you can give to someone who’s attempting to help you improve:
- “Your approach will never work, because…” Message: I’m bounded by the limits of my beliefs and can’t grow at the moment. (Please come back when you’ve got better ideas, you idiot.)
- “I was just about to do that.” Message: My ego can’t stand the idea that you may think I’m not capable, so I must proclaim my superiority. In the future, please be aware that I already have all the data and answers I need.
- “I’ve already implemented your advice and it didn’t work.” Message: I’m unable to learn from past experiences. Thank you for sharing, however I would rather just sit in my self-pity.
- “You’re giving the wrong person feedback. What they said about me is not the truth. They’re the ones who need your counsel – not me.” Message: By pointing the blame at others it relinquishes my accountability for our troubles. Please understand that I’m relatively perfect and don’t have to change. They do.
- “Your ideas are easy for you to recommend. But you don’t have to navigate my reality. If you did, you’d act just like me.” Message: I’m a victim of my circumstances and unable to take responsibility. I don’t want to be hopeless, but I am. Move along, please.
I recognize all of these responses to feedback – because I’m culpable of responding the same way. (Aren’t we all?) Realizing our own potential is one of the most difficult, never-ending-tasks we all face.
Which is why feedback is so essential. Therefore, what are two effective ways to respond to feedback from others?
- “Thank you. I appreciate how much you care.”
- “Please, tell me more. I’d like to better understand.”
Do you get a lot of feedback from others? Your past responses predict the quality and quantity of insights and observations you’ll receive from others in the future.