Did you know that when someone says “Can I give you some feedback,” our brains fire in the same way as if someone pointed a gun at us?
Fight, flight or freeze. Amygdala hijack.
As we mature in our careers and develop our EQ (self-awareness and self-management for the win), we get better at managing our first reaction to feedback. We find ourselves more open to taking it in and processing it. But we still have that brain reaction every time.
When I talk to leaders and teams about receiving feedback, I give them two rules of thumb.
1) There are only two appropriate initial responses for feedback: “Thank you” and/or “Tell me more.”
2) Once you’ve received the feedback, you can Action on it (i.e. make a plan for change) or Archive it. I never recommend ignoring it, even if you disagree with it, as you might hear it again in the future and then it becomes a trend to pay attention to.
After you’ve received it and decided what to do with it, it’s fair to circle back to the feedback giver to let them know what you heard, what you agree with and what you have a different perspective on, and what you plan to do with it.
But you never argue with it in the initial conversation.
When someone has feedback for me, I DO have that initial fight/flight/freeze response. I’ve learned to manage that, and I find that the guidelines above make receiving feedback more meaningful for me, and it makes the (often scary) action of giving feedback a more positive experience for the giver.
What do you think? How do these guidelines resonate with you? Let me know.