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The Gift of Feedback

Have you ever received feedback and walked away feeling completely defeated?

Does the word “feedback” make your stomach tighten?

If you said “yes” to either of these questions, know that you’re not alone. Feedback is a loaded word that conjures up a range of emotions, most of which are usually based in dread. This is because many times, feedback is collapsed with criticism. Who really wants to receive criticism?

Giving and receiving feedback is an art, not a science. We have an opportunity to create a new relationship with feedback. Done right and well, feedback can be our greatest gift.

This is where empathy and self-compassion come in.

Empathy brings the human being to the forefront and reminds us of the reality that we are all doing the best we can. When we are able to see people for who they are at their core – their “whole self” – we are able to create an environment of connection and safety.

Self-compassion, on the other hand, is for us. It is a reminder that we are fallible, but it allows us to be with our faults while also cheering ourselves on and appreciating ourselves for showing up and being who we are.

Brene Brown’s books “Daring Greatly” and “Dare to Lead” each address how feedback (whether giving or receiving) must be aligned with our values. Based on her research, she provides a checklist to help you determine your readiness to sit down and give someone feedback. A few are listed below:

1. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you.
2. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you).
3. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue.

The list goes on to address the value of acknowledgement as an important part of the feedback process, the ability to find the gift in any situation, and much more.

No matter the circumstances, feedback can be a gift to learn more about yourself and others, and to lift everyone up in the process.

Here’s to doing feedback differently!