Have you ever received frustrating feedback? Have you ever wanted to shout, “are you freaking serious?” “Have you looked at the impact YOU are making?” “I don’t want to roll like you.”
How do you know if the feedback is frustrating because it’s wrong or because it’s exposing a sensitive blind spot. What if it comes from your boss? It’s VERY TRICKY.
There’s usually a degree of truth worth exploring.
Start With Thank You
I always start with, “thank you.” And then decide. It never does any good to get defensive. You do not want to develop a reputation as “not being able to take feedback” (a sure way to take yourself off the succession planning “grid.”)
Here’s a line I’ve used (albeit VERY sparingly).
“I’ve heard you, I’ve thought about it for 3 weeks. I’ve gathered some additional feedback and although I appreciate your perspective, this is why I can’t change this behavior and why.”
I’ve also had a direct report say something like the above to me. I deeply respect that choice (warning not everyone will and had it been a different guy, in a different circumstance not sure how I would have reacted).
Be sure you’ve thought well. Some feedback that ticked me off early in my career turned out to be 79.6% correct
Of course, every now and then, feedback is not about you but about them.
How do you know?
“It’s Not About You” Feedback Indicators
- The feedback-giver is insecure and uncomfortable (warning, there could still be stuff to learn)
- The feedback is inconsistent with all other sources (ahh, but perhaps they have a different perspective)
- You have other signs that they don’t have your best interest at heart (are you sure?)
- You aren’t in the right job, but they are trying to mold you in (oops, this is about you, but the feedback will feel wrong find a more aligned job)
- Okay, the guy’s just a jerk (sometimes that’s true)
- ? What would you add?