Think about the last time you were in an auditorium and the public address system made a loud whistling noise, commonly referred to as, feedback. You probably winced; the noise hurt your ears! Now, think about the last time you received feedback from your customers, your colleagues or your subordinates. Maybe you had the same reaction. “Ouch, that hurts.”
Years ago, I can remember a conversation between two people attending a training and development industry conference. One said, “You know when a participant approaches you after the session and says ‘can I offer you some feedback’, it’s not going to be good.”
Unfortunately, all too often, we dismiss the feedback people offer us. Why do I say ‘unfortunately’? Because when something hurts, we often dismiss its value. We think, “They don’t understand my circumstance.” Or, we may think, “They don’t get where I’m coming from.” Maybe both statements are true, but what if we changed our approach and our inner dialogue from fault finding to curiosity. Changing our thought pattern from, “Why are they being so mean to me?” to “Hmm, I wonder why they are telling me this?” creates a learning opportunity.
Several years ago, I worked for someone who I felt was always “picking on me.” In retrospect, instead of complaining to anyone who would listen, mostly my husband, I would have been better served by asking questions like: “Why do you say that?” or “Why do you think that?” or “Can you tell me more?” I’ve learned that while positive feedback, like applause, makes us feel good, the opportunity to learn and grow comes from the whistling noise we don’t want to hear.
I’d like to hear your story about negative feedback and its impact on you. What would you do differently as a result of this blog post? Please post your comments.