I found the recently published book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, (Douglas Stone and Shelia Heen) very helpful in highlighting the profound challenge of giving and receiving feedback. They provide a framework and tools to help us “metabolize” challenging feedback in order to learn, grow and gain insight from how others see and experience us.
When the authors surveyed people across a variety of professional and personal settings about what is their most difficult conversation, feedback always came up.
What they found (and my own training work corroborates) is a manager trained to be more skilful in how they give feedback will not be effective if the receiver isn’t able or willing to hear it.
The authors focus their efforts on helping us as receivers of feedback to "manage our resistance, to engage in feedback conversations with confidence and curiosity even when we find the feedback wrong and to learn from the feedback in spite of who gives it and whether we agree with it."
It’s difficult to give honest (negative) feedback about someone’s work, performance, behavior or how we feel about them, without the receiver:
In short, receiving negative feedback is hard and painful. Most of us struggle with it. Personally, most days, I prefer flattery, praise, compliments and appreciation!
But we don’t always get what we want.
This book makes you notice your own shortcomings and blind spots in giving feedback and in receiving feedback.
The importance of learning how to manage negative feedback can be summed up by:
According to the authors' research, one’s temperament and wiring has a significant influence on how we respond to perceived negative feedback and how well we bounce back.
A few take-aways:
If you are interested in better understanding how and why difficult emotions get whipped up and want to find more productive ways to respond, read my other blogs (use search feature): Eye of the storm, The Wandering mind and the art of listening
Looking ahead to this year's crop of honeycrisp apples, I decided to re-publish this blog which first appeared on September 21, 2013.
The special offer below still applies!
Promotion code: Honeycrisp
Maples are already forecasting fall in the Laurentians, colouring the hills just north of Montreal, where the temperature is always a notch colder.
Beyond the explosion of color that will run into October (red maple turns brilliant scarlet; sugar maple becomes orange-red; black maple turns glowing yellow; while fir, cedar and spruce stay various shades of green and even blue), I’m most excited about gorging on Honeycrisp apples (yellow with red highlights) that I plan to pick up this week at a farm. A forty-pound box. Can’t wait.
I grew up in a family that revered apples – they were associated with affordable good health with a touch of luxury, doled out as snacks, desserts and as a reward for a task well done. My mother and I proudly ate the whole apple, core and all. When in season, eating a Macintosh brought on a chorus of comments about its sweetness, firmness, and tartness. The less than perfect apples were turned into applesauce or apple betty.
Over dinner last night, I interrupted and then refocused the conversation to what was on my mind – apples. I know that being impatient for an apple to be harvested before it is ripe makes no sense. But I needed to talk about how eating the creamy flesh of a fist-sized Honeycrisp is in itself a complete experience – with a beginning, middle and end.
I said to my friend, “I need to tell you how it works. It’s not a usual experience. Each bite has a soft crunchy snap (not like the hard crunch of a Mac) and sweet juiciness. With each crispy bite you marvel in disbelief at its goodness. Each bite begets another bite. I am not proud to say it, but I am selfish about these apples and only offer one to visitors as they leave my house. No more than one.”
Convinced by my animated hand gestures, she kindly said, “I believe you, there must be no other apple like it and let’s plan a trip to pick some.”
That’s the power of having a personal conviction, and the passion to make others see it your way. And if there is a touch of pleasure in it, all the better. I hope each of you are persuaded and inspired to rally around a cause of your choosing! You might find you are building a following.
What are you excited about this month? What would you like to be excited about?
Keep me posted,
Special: If you sign up for one month of coaching by September 15th, you will receive a free apple with every coaching session! That's four of the best apples you'll ever have, not to mention the best coaching sessions. Promotion code: Honeycrisp
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.