Hearing feedback is a critical part of any self-development process. For my clients feedback comes from their peers, teams, managers and most often in the form of 360 interview feedback or sometimes in a performance review. The feedback is sometimes a lot to handle. Here are a couple key points to remember to make feedback work for you and not against you.
- Feedback can be used to feed your positivity. Be in a mindset to learn and not beat yourself up by judging. “Wow that’s an interesting perspective on me I had not considered before ” is much better than “I knew it, they think I am terrible.”
- Feedback may be some version of the truth, but it is not the whole truth. People may see our behavior and attribute a motive or value to it that does not exist. “He/she just doesn’t care about people” can have a multitude of causes. Consider the behaviors that may have generated that feedback.
- The feedback may be old news. Keep in mind some people may still be playing old tapes of past behavior when you have already moved on. How can you reset the tapes they are playing?
- Sort and lend more weight to feedback that is based in fact versus an opinion. “They just don’t understand that the business environment has changed and don’t have the skills to address those changes” is an opinion. “They have not articulated a new vision for the changing environment” is closer to a fact.
- Let time give nuance and perspective to feedback. Sometimes feedback hits too many defensive trip wires for it to be immediately useful. Let the observation hang out there a while and see what truth is in it as you move through your daily roles. Slow moving “ahas” are as good as the immediate eureka “ahas” for a person’s development.
- Look for trends. If many people are saying a similar thing, there may be more possibility there is something to the feedback than one-off comments, however pithy.
- Resist taking on any fixed labels that are offered. “He/she is just not a people person” may not be very helpful to a person as it reduces avenues for development.