Taking and giving feedback gracefully…is hard to do.

Perhaps you have heard of the expression ‘Feedback is a gift’? So why is it sometimes the type of gift you want to immediately return or feel like it really is anything but a gift? Possibly it is how the feedback was delivered, and the time and place you are receiving the feedback. When feedback delivery is delayed and you are not anticipating it, it can catch you off guard and potentially feel more negative and make you more defensive feeling initially.

Feedback is the type of information which needs to be processed, and cannot always be immediately done so. So, when it comes at you and you are either not prepared to accept it, or have time to process and then provide a graceful response, it can lose the essence of why it is being given in the first place.

Not all feedback is constructive, but when it is, and it can help more than hinder the recipient receiving the information. In this case, it could be a gift. However, when feedback is either given or you are the recipient of it, what are some techniques you can apply to ensure you are leveraging feedback from either side in a positive manner?

(Giving feedback) Here are some tips on how to provide constructive feedback:

  • Consider before you give the feedback if it is actually feedback. Make sure you are not subconsciously disguising the information with the intent of having it be harmful or derogatory.
  • Take a few minutes to step away from the situation you want to provide feedback about. When you do this, you will potentially deliver a higher level of constructive feedback which is well thought through.
  • Make sure the information is not coming across as a personal attack, and is focused on providing guidance on how to improve upon how the recipient could have instead conveyed their information or situation.
  • Ask the person if they are willing to receive some constructive feedback from you. If they do not want any, respect their decision. If you walk away, they may come back to you at a later point in time and be ready and willing to receive your feedback.
  • Don’t assume you always have to give feedback, even when you think the person can benefit from it. Sometimes it is best to let the person come to you when they are not getting the results they expected, and are then ready to hear your feedback. Let them drive the process.

(Receiving feedback) Here are some tips on how to gracefully receive feedback:

  • This is going to be hard, but you are going to have to try to remain in a non-defensive posture, both physically and mentally. When you do this, and allow the person to convey their feedback, you will be able to more clearly hear and think about what they are telling you.
  • When you remain, or appear not to be in a defensive manner, the person delivering the feedback will be able to do so in a more constructive way.
  • Allow the person to finish delivering the feedback without interrupting them. Once they appear to be done giving you their feedback, if it is not clear why they are giving you this feedback, ask them why they are providing you this feedback. Or, you can ask them if you can have some time to process what you have heard, and then talk to them at another time when you are ready to do so on your terms.
  • Do your best to consider the feedback being given, even if it is not constructive and feels more like a personal attack. Generally, people who are giving you feedback have good intentions. Although, sometimes their delivery is less than constructive. This isn’t your issue, it’s theirs, so try to keep this in perspective.
  • Thank the person for offering to provide you with feedback. You may not have considered it might be difficult for them to do so. They may also be more uncomfortable than you are receiving it from them.

Even after years of both giving and receiving feedback, there are still times I have to remind myself that I need to be a gracious giver and receiver of it. It takes practice to be good at both, and I want to share with you that feedback definitely is one of the two sided coins you will be handling throughout your life and career. The trick to mastering both sides is to keep in mind you will definitely learn something regardless of which end of it you are on.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: Published last week, my first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague.



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