The power of feedback

No one likes to be told they are wrong. Full stop. In the end, we are biologically created to protect ourselves from harm, and when someone tells us that we did something wrong, our powerful protection walls spike up to the sky to ensure we do not get disappointed. This is our natural reaction.

Of course, there might be a type of feedback that we actually enjoy: the positive one. That is when our ego is pampered, we are thanked for our hard work, and this helps us because it is a confirmation that we are on the right track.

But if we are really honest with ourselves, negative feedback is really the one we should be looking out for. It is the most helpful. This is when someone actually comes to us and makes us realize that we are doing something wrong. And no, it is not the end of the world: it is an opportunity. Imagine this person wouldn’t have highlighted to you that something was not right: you would blindly continue down your course of action, doing things wrong. The person that gave you feedback is actually doing you a favor. What he/she is giving you is a chance to make it right. To improve. To succeed instead of failing.

Of course, feedback means nothing unless you do something about it.

“All we have to do is to start to take action and then respond to the feedback. If we do that diligently enough and long enough, we will eventually get to our goals and achieve our dreams”.

Caving in, quitting, getting mad at the source of feedback and ignoring it, will not take you anywhere. “Remember, feedback is simply information, you just have to welcome it and use it”.

Most people will not give you feedback voluntarily, as they are as uncomfortable with possible confrontation as you are. So, at times, you will have to ask for it. My favorite book suggest a simple phrase that can be used in any circumstance, both personal and professional, to be able to ask feedback at any given moment: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of our relationship?/ This meeting? / me as a manager? / me as a partner?” and so on. But, it doesn’t stop there. Getting to know where you stand, doesn’t give you any information on how to make it better. So you have to add another question to this “What would it take to make it a 10?”

You will surprised by the honesty you will receive in return. Being the one to prompt the conversation, will give confidence and freedom to the other person to be fully transparent with you. “Knowing in detail what will satisfy them gives you the information you need to do what is necessary to create a winning formula”.

“There is nothing to be afraid of. The truth is the truth. You are better off knowing the truth than not knowing it. Once you know it, you can do something about it. You cannot fix what you don’t know it’s broken”.

“Feedback is a gift that help you be more effective”. Be grateful for it.

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