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
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.