If you’re anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with feedback. Yes, of course, it is necessary as it leads to individual growth, but in the moment, feedback can sometimes make us feel…well…stressed. You may know the feeling, quickened heartbeat, sweaty palms, shaky voice. Receiving feedback is hard, but let’s not underestimate the difficulty of giving constructive criticism either. These are tough waters to navigate, even if you have the practice and confidence. So, by the end of this blog, hopefully, you will leave with some new tools for dealing with the stress and discomfort associated with not only receiving feedback but giving it too.
Create Your Perfect Environment
You deserve to receive feedback in a way that works for you. You have the right to set the tone and environment. So, if you like to receive feedback outside on a walk rather than inside, let people know. Or if you prefer to hear the criticisms first and finish on a high note with what you did well, let people know. Communicating your needs and desires make the process more productive for everyone!
Keep in Mind the Benefit to Feedback
The first tip works well in a perfect world with the best feedback-givers. Sometimes you need to receive little bits of feedback throughout your day that can’t be done in an ideal setting 100% of the time. Rather than focusing on how I am feeling, I focus on the good that will come from the feedback. You don’t need to suppress your initial reactions. Instead, feel any discomfort and then reframe your thoughts by thinking about how this will help you to grow as an individual and leader.
Use “I” Statements
When giving people feedback, always start your sentences with “I” statements. This allows you to provide feedback specifically from your perspective. It also allows the person receiving it not to start off the conversation feeling like they need to defend themselves. Notice how different these two sentences sound: “I want to understand why you haven’t been able to meet your deadlines.” Instead of: “Why can’t you meet any deadlines?” As an extra note, starting a sentence with “I” and finishing with an attack isn’t what I mean either. “I feel like you can’t ever meet deadlines” won’t be as productive as coming from the perspective of wanting to understand the situation.
Prepare What You’re Going to Say in Advance
In an attempt to make the process of giving feedback as seamless as possible, you can prepare the things you want to say in advance. This can help you to stay on track and get to every point you want to make. This is especially helpful if the person you are giving feedback to likes to read over things before discussing in person – which reminds me, though you deserve to receive feedback in a way that works for you, so do others! Don’t forget to ask as not everyone has the same feedback preferences as we do!
To create a conducive and safe environment for receiving and giving feedback, consider having your team fill out feedback contracts. This contract can consist of your different feedback needs so that everyone in your team can reference it. Here are some things to consider (as a bonus, check out the Feedback Do’s and Dont’s)
- The method you prefer to receive feedback (i.e., one on one, in person, over the phone, etc.)
- What is your preferred timing for receiving feedback? (what time of day, how long before/after you do something)
- What kind of interaction do you prefer? (start or end with positive/constructive feedback? Would you like it to be like a conversation?)
- What are some of your possible reactions to feedback?
- What are some important considerations that should be taken in regards to your personality?
Want to master giving and receiving feedback? Contact us for a customized program.
*Meet the Author*
Kylie is entering her second year with Leadership Inspirations! She is currently a student at Chapman University, working towards her B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies with a double minor in Psychology and Leadership.
Favorite Quote: “Take your time, don’t move too fast, troubles come and they will pass” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Fun Facts: 1) I grew up overseas in 7 different countries 2) I love music and love to sing 3) I can play 5 instruments!