So you’ve been given some hard to hear feedback. When engaging with people its surprising how many shy away from this type of feedback or alternatively feel the need to take direct action as a result. It’s time to pause that type of thinking and work out a more effective strategy for this powerful component of personal development. Bringing together a collection of views and data to create a more complete picture is important. To take just one person’s view is rather like picking out one piece of a jigsaw – you really haven’t got the complete picture. Here’s some ideas to help increase your clarity.
Firstly, don’t make a knee jerk reaction. All too often an individual feels that because someone has written or said something about them they have to believe it and then act. Of course it could be arrogant to just ignore what’s been said. Here are a few questions you could consider as you work out how to respond:
1) Do I recognise what’s been suggested and if I do how important is it?
2) Is this feedback in line with my values and personal goals?
3) How much about what has been said is actually a reflection on the person giving the feedback (their circumstances or values)?
4) What could I do to corroborate what’s been suggested?
5) Who else could I involve?
To get the most from the questions you really need to get into an objective frame of mind. Clearing your head of cluttered thoughts and stress is important with this. One exercise you can do is play the Panel Game. You have been accused of X. Imagine that you’ve been asked to appear before a panel to present your side of events. How would you prepare? What evidence could you gather? If you decide the evidence stacks up and you have to agree with the person then how would you go about convincing the panel that you’re going to respond positively. Alternatively if you decide you don’t agree how will you demonstrate to the panel that it’s ok to discount? Done well this exercise can really enhance your thinking. If you wanted to take it to the next level you could always select imaginary members of the panel that you trust and respect – make sure the panel has balance. If it’s full of members of your personal fan club you’re unlikely to take the exercise seriously. How about adding someone to really challenge your thinking?
Feedback is an involved subject which requires more space to explore than this blog post. For now the final thing I’d encourage is seek out objective feedback, give it the respect it deserves and lastly make sure you keep a sense of perspective. Go on, seek feedback from three people in the next 30 days. You might just get a great surprise you were not expecting.