Receiving Critical Feedback: A Challenge
In a previous post I shared the leadership challenge of giving critical feedback in today’s over celebrated and politically correct environment. I now want to share a few tips on how to receive critical feedback, which is a leadership development must. If you want to improve you have to be able to receive and process critical feedback. To be even more clear, I believe you will not significantly improve as a person until you can learn to receive and process feedback that can be challenging to hear.
Here are a few tips when receiving critical feedback:
Feedback isn’t your identity – My identity is in Jesus Christ and whatever feedback I receive I refuse to let it hang on me to change who I am. Without rooting yourself in who you are you will become what everyone wants you to become instead of who you were made to be. If feedback is your identity then you will have a fear of criticism and you will search out affirmation from people instead of God.
Discern the personal investment on the feedback you are about the receive – If someone is investing in you and on your future potential you should be completely open to hear and receive their feedback. Conversely if a complete stranger gives you feedback you have to cautiously determine how and even if you need to adjust or respond. You don’t need to respond to all criticism!
Receive the feedback with open ears – If your posture becomes immediate defense when someone attempts to give you feedback your potential for improvement declines.
Thank the person who is giving you feedback – There is no reason to do anything but thank the person who gives you the feedback. It doesn’t mean you agree with them, but assume that they want you to improve.
Consider and Pray about the feedback and how you should change / respond – You don’t have to immediately change. Likely it took you decades to form your style and your mannerisms. Changing it overnight can be clunky so be patient. If you should adjust then adjust. A big leadership mistake is to receive critical feedback but never do anything about it, even though it was outstanding.