What should you do when receiving feedback makes your ego want to run and hide?
Receiving feedback can be very challenging, especially if it is not something you were proactively seeking or if it was not delivered in the most kind of way, but you can employ some strategies to make it easier.
Start from a place of gratitude. Think about how challenging it might be for the person providing the feedback. Feedback is a gift, because it is so hard to give and it is rarely received. The person providing feedback to you likely cares about you and is invested in your improvement, and you cannot improve without feedback from others.
Be aware of Negativity Bias, which is a phenomenon where we give a disproportionate amount of attention to the negative. Some say that we need three or more positives to outweigh one negative. Make yourself the type of person who does not need that, because you see feedback not as a negative, but as a gift.
One of the hardest things about receiving feedback is that it can catch you by surprise. Take some control of the feedback situation so that you are in a place and state of mind to most openly accept the feedback.
To do that, proactively seek it out. For instance:
If someone tells you that they don’t have any feedback to give you, they’re likely either lying to you or they’re not actually thinking critically. With a growth mindset and/or a continuous improvement mindset, no work is ever done or perfect, so there is always room for improvement. By being proactive about seeking feedback, you’re demonstrating that they don’t have to lie (you actually want their opinions) and that you expect them to think critically (which is a sign of a positive organizational culture).
Since you’re probably pretty great at your job, proactively collecting feedback will likely be a great boost to your esteem rather than an attack on your ego, since you’ll likely get lots of positive feedback!
Below are two fantastic questions to ask others. By asking a specific question and only asking for one idea, it’s less intimidating. It forces their brain to focus on this reasonable, specific request. Plus, when asking for one idea, you usually get more; but if you ask how you can improve in general, you’ll likely get a watered down “Oh, it was all good” response.
Take the strategy of “proactively collect feedback” to the next level by sharing your professional development goals with others. When your colleagues, manager, and mentors know what you’re trying to achieve, it helps you direct the narrative and it helps them know what to look for.
For example, if they know that you’re working on building exceptional public speaking skills and that you want their help to get there, they’ll be more likely to give you feedback on your speaking and presence, and less on aesthetic slide edits. (Plus, they might be more motivated to help you prep for the presentation in the first place!)
Note: Not clear on your professional development goals? No worries! I’ve got ya: Grab your Professional Development Planner.
I'd really appreciate some feedback about a project I'm working on! Join me for a 60 minute call, where I give you 30 minutes of free Project Coaching, and then we discuss an idea that I have. This Consultation Exchange is for growth-minded, high-achieving, purpose-driven professionals who have (or are about to have) a leadership role at their organization. This offer stands through the end of 2021, so sign up for your time slot now!
Megan E. Mozina
Founder & Principal
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