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Feedback Myth #2: I have the right to understand feedback when it’s given to me

Feedback Myth #2: I have the right to understand feedback when it’s given to me

By Dr. Chris White

11 years ago




Most people don’t like receiving feedback, period.  When being corrected it’s like we revert back to elementary school with our spelling test in front of us with a bunch of red X’s on it!  And especially if we get feedback that we don’t agree with completely or don’t understand fully, it’s natural to be puzzled at best and defensive at worst.

Or let’s just say you get feedback that you really can’t act on—maybe they didn’t give an example that made sense or maybe no example at all.  Should we be able to get clarification?

It’s a myth to think that you deserve to have full clarity right in the moment.  Notice I’m not implying to reflexively agree with the feedback or to even necessarily change a single thing about you based on it.

Am I suggesting a token “Thank you so much” as you turn around and walk away rolling your eyes (after you turn around, that is!).  No, what I’m suggesting is that right there in the moment you need to think about your goal.

If your goal is to be known as someone who is approachable with feedback and who listens to alternate perspectives, then be careful.  You can always get clarification from them later.  An hour later.  A day later.  Or maybe you could get clarification from someone else.  If a person in your life had the guts to give you critical feedback, I’m impressed, because that’s not easy.  Haven’t you given someone feedback only to have them cross-examine it in the moment or keep probing for a perfect example and you just thought, “You know what, just forget it, I didn’t sign up for this!”

So, next time you get some feedback, let your first reflex be to thank them…and maybe stop right there.  Go process that information for a bit, better ensuring that you keep the lines of communication open.  Worst case scenario, you drop in the next day and ask, “Hey, thanks again for your input yesterday, I really appreciate it.  If you think of any specific examples or if there are other people you’d suggest I pick their brains on this, let me know.”

Dr. Chris White

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