Receiving feedback is rarely a fun activity.

Not many of us like to hear the truth that others have noticed our deficiencies and there are things that we need to improve.

However, business author Ken Blanchard says that, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

We do need to hear certain things about ourselves from time to time.  None of us know it all, and having others share their perspective about us can be very helpful.

There are a range of possible responses to being told what we need to work on.  The response that we choose tells us a lot about our mindset and how likely we are to continue on our journey of development.

Here are the five ways we can respond to feedback:

  1. We can get defensive.  Some people get instantly defensive when they hear what they can do better.  They get angry, take it personally and make it difficult for people to confront them with aspects of themselves that can help them to improve their performance.  After a while, not only do they not grow, but people become less likely to deliver feedback to them.  Whilst this may seem like the desired response, it’s diabolical if you want to continue to develop.
  2. We can try to avoid it.  Some people don’t react adversely to feedback, but they do everything they can to make sure that they don’t hear it.  They surround themselves with “yes-men”, ask for it from people they know will tell them what they want to hear or place themselves in situations where they are largely anonymous and unlikely to receive attention.  Avoiding feedback doesn’t help you though as you don’t get to learn about what you really should be improving.
  3. We can embrace it.  Some people seem to cope very well with feedback.  When they hear something that they need to work on, they listen, take notes and respond positively, perhaps even thanking the deliverer for taking the time to tell them what they needed to work on.
  4. We can look for it.  Some people are so comfortable with themselves that they actively look for opportunities to hear about how they can improve their performance.  Whether it’s through surveys, feedback forms or just gathering around them trusted people who will give them the honest truth, they initiate the feedback process, knowing that they have deficiencies that they can’t identify by themselves.
  5. We can act on it.  Whether you respond defensively or actively look for it, there’s little difference until you actually start to act on the feedback that you receive.  I can remember a few years ago, receiving some frank feedback from the people who worked for me.  After the initial jolt, I told them what I intended to change and went about amending my management style to better accommodate their needs.  Acting on the feedback not only improved my relationships with my people, but increased their respect for me that I was able to respond to their concerns.

Whatever you do in life, I would encourage you to find out what your blind spots are through feedback from others.

And when you do, take action to change.

Not only will it assist your development, but increase the regard that others have for you.

How do you respond to feedback?

Does this need to change?

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