by Sam Chand
Everybody wants feedback, right? Maybe not. Maybe it depends on the kind of feedback we’re talking about—if you have good feedback for me, yay! If, rather it’s constructive, or instructional in nature…something in me—defensiveness, perhaps—resists that.
Feedback is a process. We tend to see it as a one-time conversation. But whether we’re giving or receiving it, we need to know how to navigate that process. Let’s explore each side a bit.
When you’re giving feedback, it’s imperative that you do it respectfully. That is, if you hope to get your point across in a fruitful way. Don’t expect the recipient, in that moment, to respond with total acceptance. People will usually respond by thanking you; but they might be thinking something completely different. After all, this is the first they’ve heard of your feedback. Operate with understanding and respect. Leave your feedback without a demanding spirit.
When you’re on the other end of the feedback, respect is also paramount. You must understand that other’s observations have value, too. They make a difference just as yours do. Value the feedback, and say to the person providing it, “Thank you. Give me some time to think about that.” Here, too, we see that there’s a process.
Feedback is not a one-time conversation; it’s an ongoing dialogue. Make sure your part in that dialogue is courteous, constructive, and life-giving. Chances are, when it’s your turn to be on the receiving end, people will give you the same courtesy.