Feedback usually comes to us through observations of family, friends or colleagues. Sometimes, they come as performance appraisal comments from the boss. The feedback could be solicited or unsolicited, more, it could leave you feeling positive or negative. But, it is important to think about the feedback (wherever it comes from) before you let it affect you.
The first question: Who gave it to you?
Who gives you the feedback has an effect on how the feedback may affect you. You need to evaluate how much the person knows you to accept the feedback. If it is a stranger, you instinctually process the feedback as an observation.
The second question: Why is the feedback being given?
It would be wise to understand the context of the feedback. Sometimes, the feedback may be an outcome of the giver’s own issues. The feedback may be given harshly, but if processed slowly and constructively, it can have great positive outcomes.
The third question: How was the feedback was given?
In a perfect world, the feedback will be delivered in a way that helps you. In the real world, the giver of the feedback suffers and is capable of delivering it unsuccessfully – rough words, sarcasm or poorly delivered. The feedback may have an immediate effect on you, either elation or disappointment. Once the initial emotions fade, it is in your best interest to evaluate the feedback after subtracting the giver’s style, motive and emotions. Purely evaluate if the feedback is of any value to you.
The fourth question: What can you do with the feedback?
Like anything else, we have a choice on what to do with what we receive. We may choose to discard, store or act on it. If you think the feedback you’ve received is worth acting on, it would be wise to head back to the person who gave you feedback and ask more questions (in a non-defensive manner) about the context of the feedback. These questions will give you a chance to process where the feedback came from and how you can act on it successfully.
As you read this article, remember that you have responsibility with feedback, whether it is given or taken. Many a time, your random observations and conversations will have a great impact on a person’s life and decisions. Being mindful and careful is absolutely important!
What strategy do you use to give feedback?