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Receiving feedback with grace

“May I offer you some feedback?”

What is your immediate reaction to this question?

For many of us, those six little words instantly trigger our alarm system and bring up feelings of defensiveness. Anticipating we’re about to get attacked with criticism, we prepare to protect our ego.While most leaders admit that feedback is valuable, when it comes to being on the receiving end, we often have the urge to cover our ears and shout “la la la la la” to drown out the message!

Here’s the conundrum

On one hand, we have an innate desire to learn and grow. We want to get better. But, on the other hand, we are hard-wired with the need to feel accepted and respected. Although we’re interested in how others perceive us, this interest is grounded in the hope that we’re viewed positively. Getting favorable feedback feels great. We all want to hear how wonderful we are!

Even though we know constructive feedback can help us improve, any kind of criticism stings because it feels like rejection.

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