Processing Feedback

Does receiving feedback make you anxious? For many people feedback has negative connotations. If this is true for you, it is probably because it might highlight situations where you did not perform to your best capabilities. Here’s the challenge: Rather than viewing feedback as highlighting your faults, you can see it as an opportunity for personal growth.

Let’s look at several definitions of feedback: Constructive versus Destructive. There IS a difference. I think of destructive feedback as “criticism”. It does not provide solutions; It just points out flaws. In contrast, constructive feedback or critique is intended to help you make improvements and might provide ideas for solutions. In a job format or a competition situation, critique is essential for gaining continued professional and personal growth.

Here are a few tips to help you sort through feedback you receive. Remember, its not only about processing the feedback, but also leveraging comments to your advantage:

Recognize good intentions. The feedback may sting, but realize the person is probably just trying to help. An employer is investing in your skills for the position. A coach or mentor is critiquing you to assist in you finding your best self.

Listen to understand. Don’t allow your defense mechanisms to tune out critique. You can’t evaluate feedback if you don’t stay engaged with the person offering it. Listening to understand rather than listening to respond shows respect to the person offering the feedback.

Summarize feedback. Because it can be difficult to hear, it’s easy to scramble the messages. Take time to summarize for an accurate read. Make sure you’re on the same page with the person offering the feedback.

Ask clarifying questions. Being actively engaged with the process shows that you are open and interested in your growth. A healthy discussion makes sure you’re tracking with the conversation.

Step back. Process. Sometimes it’s not immediately clear if feedback is valid or useful. Before you accept or reject it, process it to better understand it. Also remember, the feedback you’ve received is probably a helpful strategy in your development. Shared insight is deserving of a sincere, “thank you!”

Receiving feedback can be overwhelming. Put the comments into perspective and move forward. Don’t dwell on the negative aspect of the process. Your growth depends on your ability to find value from critique from coaches, mentors, supervisors, and peers. Remember, you are the most important factor in your personal development. You can glean insights from whatever feedback you receive. And with that, anything is possible!

By Phil Kimmi | Posted in ,