How Do You Handle Difficult Feedback?

Three distinct times in my life and career, I received hard feedback with a common theme. I still look back on those times as fundamental parts of my vocational (and personal growth) despite the difficulty of receiving the feedback at the time.

Feedback comes in many forms, from “likes” on social media, to a conversation with your boss, to a passing comment by a friend.

In general, feedback can be a helpful tool as we grow professionally and personally. We all react in a unique way from it.

What is your most frequent response?

Don’t want it don’t need it. I make the rules for my life.

Pros: Your independence is inspiring. It’s very freeing to live life without worrying about what other people think.

Your freedom and confidence probably helps your creativity and productivity.

Cons: You could benefit greatly by being more open to feedback. You might receive insight you hadn’t considered, which will help you be even more effective in your work.

You might come across as arrogant and unapproachable, which could make your work life more difficult down the line (if not now) and may keep you from some very meaningful relationships, or increasing the vitality of friendships you already have.

Listen to all of it/take all of it to heart.

Pros: Your willingness to listen will serve you well. You can learn more when you listen, not blinded by your own view of yourself.

Others probably feel drawn to you, like you are an easy person to get along with.

Cons: If you take ALL feedback to heart you may take in some info that is either 1) just not true or is 2) somewhat true but presented in a hurtful way. The hurt may overcome what you could learn from the feedback.

You may also depend too much on the opinions of others instead of having confidence in knowing your own strengths and challenges.

Consider it thoughtfully, absorbing what I feel is helpful and applicable, and discarding what I feel was mean-spirited or even inaccurate.

Pros: This balanced approach will serve both you and the people around you. When you are open to considering what truths are encased in feedback (even feedback not presented effectively) you may learn something and if you have the humility to apply it, your coworkers will benefit as well. At the same time, you won’t be weighted down emotionally by feedback not presented with the right motives, because you can discern the valuable part and discard the rest.

Cons: not sure I see any. Do you?

Feecback can be helpful to all involved IF given and received in the right spirit.

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