December 22, 2019

When You Receive Tough Feedback | Quick Huddle # 4

Nothing produces a more defensive reaction than receiving feedback that you can't reconcile in your mind. I've been there, performing a task, thinking I'm doing well when, in reality, I'm a hot dumpster fire. Getting criticism has a special kind of sting to it that is initially emotionally distressing. This response can bring up several reactions, so I wanted to provide some tips on how to process criticism professionally, even though it might feel personal.

You are mad, even insulted, and that is okay. But understand this is a moment in time. A moment in time that will pass, and your emotions will change. You are upset now because you lack understanding. What you do in this moment can't be undone. Outbursts can't be erased. So, don't say something you will regret. Take a deep breath and calm the voice within you that demands retribution. Sit down and allow yourself time to process those feelings. Don't argue, don't speak. Allow the other party a moment to express themselves. You will have your time, your moment. It is not right now. And if you react now, it will be pure emotion. You are raw and tender. Give yourself time. Step back and process, but don't feel the need to do something. Just be.

The feedback has to be examined and processed. Instead of assuming the person is an idiot, and he or she is misinformed, focus on processing the data, and less of being defensive. Try not to jump to conclusions and instead focus on asking for background information. The reason you are defensive is that the feedback lacks context. Allow the individual to provide you with the full picture and not merely a list of complaints. Allow the person the opportunity to explain their position by giving specific examples. You will not understand their perspective if you don't see the entire picture. If you are not open to seeing the picture, you won't. This has to be a choice you make, a choice to listen and not simply hear what is being said to you.

Once you have the full scope of things, you know what you need to work on. Move forward and move on. There is no point in sulking and wallowing for an extended period. You can re-examine your actions a million times, but what is done is done, and you must learn from your experiences. Don't allow mistakes to halt your growth. We all make mistakes, and no one is perfect. Recovery is growth and can only take place if you move beyond mistakes and errors. Recovery isn't an event or action. It is a pattern of behavior over time. There will be hiccups and adjustments, but know that you are working towards growth, not perfection. Trying to reach perfection is dangerous, exhausting, and unattainable. Growth is ever-evolving and personal.

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