Do we need a new way of giving feedback?

There is enough evidence why feedback is important for us and our development. Still, receiving feedback is often something we dread. Especially when it is negative feedback. But also positive feedback can be something people don’t appreciate.

For many of us it is very difficult to process feedback. Really process. With that I mean that I take some time to think about what has been said and to ask others whether they see it the same way or not. Feedback can only be effective when it is processed correctly.

So how can we create the right environment to increase the odds that people will listen and process our feedback?

Maybe a good way is to actually address our aversion towards receiving feedback. That might be favorable for negative as well as positive feedback. I think it is obvious why we don’t like negative feedback and why we might not want to process something negative about ourselves. The problem is that when we don’t take the time to process it, we will still repeat those words in our mind. Maybe not immediately but hear something similar often enough and you will start to believe it. That is not a healthy way to process feedback. But if you sit down and try to objectively regard what has been said, it is easier to come up with a plan what to do with that feedback.

But also positive feedback might not stick. Unfortunately, many of us just brush off positive comments. We attribute it to luck or we highlight the effort of someone else, but we rarely say “Yes, I did a good job there, thank you”.

We could continue to just let it sink in. To take some time and reflect about the feedback. Mention that you might be wrong and that they should ask other people to validate the feedback. In addition, offer that they can get back to you to discuss it. This is mainly applicable for negative feedback. When it comes to positive feedback, be very precise. Tell them exactly what they did and which strengths or talent they showed and how it contributed. A simple you did a good job today is nice to hear but is no feedback.

Of course, it always depends on the person you are talking to. And keep in mind to not always do it this way. If you always start your feedback by telling them why we don’t like receiving feedback and asking them to take their time, people might get bored =).

And one more word why it is so important to process positive feedback. When I’d asked you what your top 3 strengths are? Would you be able to easily tell them? What when I ask you about your best 5 strengths? By accepting and processing positive feedback we can learn something about our strengths and talents. This in turn might also help us with finding our passion and our purpose. Moreover, if we are unsure about our strengths, it might negatively affect our self-confidence.

What do you think?


Have a wonderful day, Stephan

One Comment Add yours

  1. Great post! Feedback is sooo important in any learning process, negative as well as positive! That being said I know that I personally struggle with positive feedback as I always attribute the good things to luck or circumpstances …!


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