Feedback. It’s something that we all strongly desire or want to run away from. The impact of it can also depend on how it’s delivered. What do you do with poorly or not thorough feedback? Harvard lecturer and founder of the Triad Consulting Group Sheila Heen lectures how to take any and all kinds of feedback and use it to learn and grow. Research shows that if you and your organization can become better at giving and receiving feedback, there can be a surge in growth and big rewards.
None of us want negative feedback, but we what we do want is to improve. Therefore, sometimes, not-so-great feedback is a must. Heen states, “What the research shows is that people who go out and solicit negative feedback…those people report higher work satisfaction; they adapt more quickly in newer roles, and they get better performance reviews.”
Taking and running with the negative feedback not only changes you, but also how people see you. If you can learn and grow from it, not only is it beneficial to you and your company, but also to others.
Heen suggests that one of the problems everyone has when it comes to receiving comments is judging it too quickly. It’s easy to become consumed with picking apart what is wrong with the way it was delivered, what is wrong with the person who gave it, or what is wrong with the comments entirely. If you think it is wrong, it’s easy to “set it aside and go on with your life.” However, as Heen states, “You will always find something wrong with it.”
There are multiple factors, such as the outlook of life, that contribute to how we react to feedback. We each have different baselines, which determine how we take getting negative criticism. Heen states, “Understanding your profile can help you understand your own reaction.” If you think you’re a more on the pessimistic side, it might be easier for you to not get too far knocked off your baseline. However, sensitivity comes at all different levels. your coworker might not accept negative criticism as easily. Not only does understand profiles help you personally, but also helps you with teamwork.
Removing distortions and thinking clearly and thoroughly about the comments you received about your work will ultimately help you learn about yourself, apply it, and grow. Heen suggests that you ask this one question:
“What’s the one thing you see me doing, or failing to do, that is getting in my way?”
It’s important to know what you need to be working on as a leader. Asking the people around you will give you a sense of what can be improved and demonstrate that you care.
Heen believes that feedback “sits on the junction of two human needs:” the need to learn and grow and the desire for acceptance. As we have all experienced, it can either be full of joy or rather painful. When it’s painful, Heen teaches that “It’s about learning to understand and manage the pain, to enrich our relationships, and to get to the learning faster.”
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