We are all inevitably entrenched in today’s high feedback, high output culture.
There is an enormous pressure to accept feedback and continuously adapt to it at the same pace as we receive it.
Indeed, the cultural shift towards making immediate micro-adjustments in real-time increases the urge in all of us to take everything to heart and make drastic emotionally-driven changes within ourselves without much discernment.
It is essential for our mental health and wellbeing as well as our performance that we evolve the way we hear, understand, and respond to feedback.
Developing an informed process around receiving and implementing other people’s constructive criticisms is a worthwhile investment. Not only will it clarify and improve the relationships that you have with others, but it will also encourage honest and healthy self-reflection.
Here are the steps you need to filter and healthily implement feedback:
The most crucial step in this process is separating fact from opinion. You are not responsible for what others choose to say, but you are responsible for filtering it.
Even the most well-intentioned feedback is coloured by the perspective of the person giving it. It is impossible to separate our own opinions and personal experiences from the feedback we give others. That's okay; it's part of the human experience.
As the recipient of feedback, however, you must look at the feedback from a more holistic standpoint. It could be that a person is giving you feedback to communicate that they don't like something about you or your behaviour simply because they value something else. These kinds of statements are less about feedback and more about information regarding who that person is.
GET A SECOND OPINION BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION.
You wouldn't schedule a major surgery without getting a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis and ensure that other doctors agree and support a treatment plan, right?
The same is true for feedback. Don't change who you are and your behaviour after one person gives you feedback. Collect feedback and hold it lightly until it presents multiple times.
Everyone has an opinion about who you are and what you do; worthwhile feedback is an echo, not one person's opinion. If several people have spoken to you about the same thing, then it's safe to assume that there is room in you for to make some changes, to your behaviour but never to who you are as a person. Feedback is only valuable if it’s something about how you do things, not who you are.
MAKE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO RESPOND.
Once you decide to take specific feedback into account, ensure that you understand someone's request of you. This understanding will inform your reaction to the input and determine how much you will consider it moving forward.
You are not obligated to make any changes unless you feel as though it would be in the best interest of the connection you have with that person and yourself.
IT'S ALL IN THE DELIVERY.
Remember that feedback, at its core, is about the relationship between two people. It's too often delivered as an accusatory comment on someone's character.
Consider this as you receive feedback in personal and professional settings. If you feel particularly upset or defensive about the feedback you've received, it could be because it feels like a negative comment on who you are instead of what you do.
We cannot change who we are, nor should we. Still, we can easily adjust our behaviour to alleviate friction with those around us, if it serves us to do so. If you understand how to receive feedback, you can also give it to others in a way that is kind, thoughtful, and helpful to them in their growth and evolution.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE GIVING OR RECEIVING FEEDBACK.
How do you feel about feedback?
Do you find it easy to receive feedback and make adjustments?
How would you like to receive feedback?
How do you like to give feedback?
What is the desired behaviour change from the feedback?