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Is Your View Of Feedback Helping Or Hindering Your Learning And Growth?

What are the first words that come into your head when you think about

  • Giving feedback?
  • Receiving feedback?

David Rock (2008) tell us that when we hear the word ‘feedback’ our brain responds as though someone is walking behind us down a dark alley. Do you answers to the above questions reflect that?

Feedback, both positive and negative is of course central to learning. In such a changing world of work in which we must constantly learn and grow, it is important that we can both give and receive feedback well.

Lets see if we can change our perceptions about feedback. This is what I believe about it:

  • Feedback stops gossip
  • Feedback helps us and helps others
  • Through feedback people learn and grow – it is a gift
  • Through feedback we can learn more about ourselves and become better people
  • It’s normal and ok to feel defensive after receiving negative feedback. It’s what you do with the information that is important
  • Asking for feedback about specific areas that you would like to develop is empowering
  • There is no magic formula for giving either positive or negative feedback. You can find many resources and frameworks. What is important is to:
    • Be authentic and do it from a place of caring about the person
    • Make sure it occurs as soon after you have noticed the need for it as possible (both positive and developmental)
    • Be direct
    • Give developmental feedback in private
    • Find out how each person you work with likes to receive positive feedback
  • While it important to consider all feedback, you don’t have to accept all of the feedback you receive. You can choose what is relevant to you and your situation based on
    • Who the giver is in relation to their relationship to you and their experience and knowledge in the area they are providing you feedback in
    • What your goals are

Are your perceptions and beliefs about feedback serving you?

Thinking back to your answers to the questions at the beginning of this article consider the beliefs you hold about feedback and

  • Identify those that benefit you and that you need to keep?
  • Decide which ones are hindering you and that you need to change?
  • Now create for yourself a new positive way of viewing feedback.

Once you begin to view feedback differently you will feel differently about giving and receiving it. The only thing left to do then, is to find a way using your existing communication skills, or by developing new ones with which you are comfortable to make it an even better experience.

This article has been adapted from our online course Women in Leadership  If you would like more information about that or coaching, please give me a call on   0421 775 924.


David Rock, SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others, Neuron Leadership Journal, Issue one, 2008

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