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Six Tips to Get Tough Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast for champions. But you must be able to hear the message and take action.

I shared some tips on how to convey a difficult message and gave feedback last month. There’s no escape from feedback in life, so it’s important to think about the experience of the receiver.

Feedback can be the pain that we feel after touching a hot stove burner accidentally or the humiliating comments made by a coworker, friend, or boss about how we should improve our game. There’s also that inner voice that berates you with “How could that have happened?”

We are constantly reminded about how we are doing or whether we are living up to the personal values and expectations of others.

Feedback is an essential part of our success. It is essential to our success. Without feedback, the status quo will prevail and “average” will become the norm. New discoveries and results may not be possible.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we are ready, willing, or able to listen to difficult feedback. feedback can be a punch in your stomach. Even if it is delivered well, we may feel sick and want to reject the message.

The Gift

Personally, I am still learning to accept “the gift” of feedback, especially when it isn’t in line with my expectations. Blindsided can cause me to lose my mojo, sleeplessness, and anxiety for many days or weeks. I find this unproductive. London-Post

Others, I believe, do it the same way. If we don’t get feedback at the moment, then we need to acknowledge it and take action, rather than worrying about it. We lose the opportunity to improve our game or raise it as needed.

You don’t need to take action immediately or every time you get feedback. You must listen, can save it for later reference if you need it. The final decision to act or not is up to you. Here are six ways to listen to tough feedback and respond graciously.

1. Stop

The amygdala activates in our brains when we are given harsh feedback. This is the limbic system that controls the fight or flight response. This response is designed to protect us against threats but may misunderstand feedback as a threat.

This is a problem because the real threat lies in the behavior or event that caused the need for feedback. Stop at the first sign of a “Yes”. . ?. But! or “You’re wrong” response starts bubbling up. Reduce the intensity. Do not react to feedback. Be patient and listen to the entire message. Next, choose your response.

Vital Smarts’ Dr. Travis Bradberry emphasizes the importance of learning to remain calm when receiving harsh feedback.

2. Say “Thank you!”

Your critic didn’t expect that I know! But, before you start blaming the critic for being misinformed, stop and look at the person in the eyes and say “Thank You!”

I’m assuming that your colleague thought about the importance of the feedback and put in a lot of effort to get the courage to share it with you. This person probably cares enough about your relationship and you to send the message. It is a small gesture that you can make to acknowledge the person’s kindness and say “Thank You.”

I can promise you that this response will put you in good stead and ensure that communication channels are open. You’ll also receive feedback that could be crucial to your reputation and success in the future. Still skeptical? Still skeptical? Check out Dan Rockwell’s wisdom words, the Leadership Freak. He shares seven positive ways to deal with negative feedback. Twitter.

3. Look out for the 1 percent grain.

We tend to view tough feedback as character assassination when we get it. “You’re late” can be heard as “You are always on time,” which leads to silently listing events that we weren’t only on time, but also early. What happens is that we stop listening and start defending ourselves.

Instead of accepting feedback as the only truth, search for the 1 percent grain. From there, build.

Consider yourself as one of the Google search results. The comments you hear is the string of words that you enter into the search field. This data point can return thousands of results. It’s important to keep your eyes on the top 1% and not ignore the feedback.

This is a technique we use in our leadership programs to facilitate feedback. It works in three ways: First, consider the feedback. Write down all you have received. Next, write down everything you think is wrong with the feedback. Write down all possible truths in the feedback.

What did you do? You let yourself process the feedback and identified the 1 percent. What now?

4. Look for patterns.

It is easy to ignore feedback that does not match our self-perception and move on to the next thing without thinking. But, before you do that thing again. This feedback is something you’ve received before. What about something similar? Let it go if this is your first time receiving this feedback.

It may sound familiar if it does. A pattern is a way of seeing the world. Patterns can either help or hinder you. What is the common theme, location, or situation? Is the feedback important enough for you to pay attention to today?


One of the senior IT leaders I was coaching said that “attention to details” was something he has always struggled with. He had noticed it in his “needs to improve” section of performance reviews. However, he dismissed the criticism as others needing to relax and not worry about him being imprecise. He dismissed the notion that he might have to alter his approach.

It was motivated by the excitement of new project launches, so he didn’t care about following through on projects that were ending. He was now at a crossroads and his career was in danger. Because others saw the pattern he was not following, he had been rejected for promotion. This leader needed feedback to wake him up. He was ready to listen and act.

Both he and I agreed that it was unlikely that he would ever be able to finish projects perfectly. Through our executive coaching conversations, however, we were able to identify strategies that he could use at the moment to stay focused when it was most important, and produce a polished and complete end product. Although it took some time, his reputation as a slap-dash person did improve and he was able to regain the trust of others.

What feedback patterns are you ignoring? What are the first steps you can take to fix this pattern today?

5. Listen with curiosity

Listen to your inner voice. Ask yourself, Why would anyone think that about me? Asking a question, even in your head, engages your neocortex. It’s your rational, thinking brain. Asking a question will help reduce the ability of your amygdala to trigger the fight or flight response.

Feedback is the key to solving a problem that you didn’t know you had. You can be curious and engage in the conversation if you’re interested. You don’t need to accept the comments or take action. If you don’t want to hear the comments, it won’t come to you, it won’t get processed, and you will lose the gift of feedback.

6. Ask questions.

Asking questions allows you to clarify what has been said, identify the behaviors that led to the unintended effect, and truly receive the compliments.

I was listening in the meeting, but can you tell me when you thought that I was disengaged?

“When you used did you mean –?”?

In what other situations/meetings have you seen me do that?

What’s one way I could handle this differently in the near future?

What would your next recommendation be?

These six tips will help you to be less surprised when you receive unexpected feedback. Although it is not always the best option, tough feedback can help us achieve our goals.

You will learn how to accept feedback with grace and be able to take the necessary action to advance your career and maintain your reputation as a consummate professional.


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