Feedback is a gift – like socks or tea towels. Although constructive feedback might not be on the most wanted list for Christmas or Birthdays it is critical for personal development.
The first challenge is being open to the ‘gift’ of feedback or what is now commonly known as having a ‘growth mindset’.
We tend to have a fixed view of ourselves, like a mirror giving a 2D reflection. But our view and that of others can be radically different. Getting feedback from a range of people can enable us to have a full 3D perspective of ourselves. We need to be open to these differing views.
One of the base lines for learning to receive feedback is to focus on the fact that it isn’t personal, which can be hard. Good feedback, well given, should focus on specific behaviours and their impact, not on the individual. Some people might bite their nails and that doesn’t make them bad people it just means they have a behaviour that is open to positive change.
Realising that someone is trying to help you modify behaviours to enable future success is part of having a growth mindset. Small modifications to behaviours can have significant impacts in a wider work or personal environment.
Even if feedback is poorly given or doesn’t feel true it is still helpful to examine what might be driving the opinion. Is there a weakness in communications or relationship that can be improved – what might be the ember that is generating the smoke signal? Take this as a sign that you need to redouble your efforts to identify and fix a potential issue.
Automatically dismissing or being hostile to feedback can create a vicious circle . As a recipient you aren’t gaining a benefit and the giver of the feedback is less likely to engage again or even worse dismiss you as someone closed to development – either way the personal impact isn’t positive.
No matter how hard or painful the feedback it is worth taking the time to pause, reflect and learn. A bit like socks the gift can provide a practical benefit, so don’t get cold feet!