Sunday, November 23, 2008

The "Gift" of Feedback


Often we receive feedback which jars us and shakes up what we believe about ourselves. Our natural tendency is to defend against this feedback and find out what's wrong with it. In situations like this I like using my friend Khali's metaphor of equating feedback with a gift that you recieve from someone. You don't know what it is, but you know that its well intentioned. Given that you wouldn't be rude and say "I don't like this gift..." and return it. Instead you'll accept it and appreciate (and even explore) the intent with which he/ she picked the gift for you.

So, maybe its a good idea to explore "why the feedback is right" instead of telling yourself that the other person got it all wrong. I find that this gives me the best way of dealing with feedback as compared to when I refute it.

3 comments:

Livingston Seagull said...

To extend the metaphor of a gift...We often wrap the gift and the same counts for feedback. You can 'wrap' feedback for example by using the phrase "What you did well..." to offer the positive feedback and using the phrase "What you can improve on ..." to offer suggestions for improvement.

I guess there are many more wrappers available. Please share the ones that worked for you!

Monroe Owens said...

Your friend used the perfect metaphor. I like considering feedback as gifts or concern from someone. It's the kind of unwrapped gift that I appreciate, specially when it's delivered constructively. Yes, we do defend against feedback and find out what's wrong with it, but only those who can understand its purpose really appreciate the sense of feedback.

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