Feedback: Making the Most of It

How do you handle feedback?  You get them from parents, family and friends.  The same thing could come from work colleagues and at school.  A considerable chunk of your life is spent in receiving feedback – be it nasty or plain constructive.

And hey, you too, spend some time making, giving and withdrawing them.

So, what’s the point in taking it too hard?  Why don’t you let it in and see for yourself if it’s what you need to grow or not.  Feedback is a lot more important than people credit it for.  To collect and make full use of it, here are some tips to consider:

1)      Recognise its package.  Feedback doesn’t always come as a feedback.  Sometimes, it comes paired with humour or jokes.  Other times, it comes part of a given complaint.  Like candy, it comes wrapped with either sweet or sour flavour.

The point in knowing the difference is that it could help you manage your responses.  Feedback ‘wrapped’ in jokes can confuse you.  It’ll make you wonder if it’s supposed to be taken seriously or not.  In such case, it would be helpful to approach the person who delivered the joke and ask for clarifications.

2)      Know its target.  Some feedbacks are vague; some point-specific.  Either way, you need to find which personal variable it is intended to apply.

For instance, when your essay advisor says you need to ‘spice it up,’ which variable could she be talking about?  Perhaps, she means to imply your tone as the essay piece needs to be a bit more cheery.  She may also be rooting for details, particularly, interesting titbits to be added in your essay.

3)      To act or ignore.  As soon as your emotional responses waver (e.g., you’re less upset), begin to consider the feedback more carefully.  Can you act on it?  Are you ready to do so?  You can work on it or not; your choice matters as it can make or break your chances for growth – be it in terms of behaviour, career, or any other aspects of your life.

4)      The feedback-giver.  The way you treat your feedback-giver depends in the way you treated the feedback.  If you gladly took the feedback provided by a friend, you’re obviously going to be thankful to her.

If not, you could still be nice; but your perception of her judgement could be a lot more different than before.

So the next time feedback comes your way, avoid swiftly shooing it.  Try not to fall in the same trap of treating that feedback like rubbish just because you think the feedback-giver is rubbish.  Besides, even rubbish has its merits or use.

Find a way around these critical feedbacks.  It does you no good to be constantly defensive, either.  Let it settle for awhile.  Mull for hours or days and then go back with a game plan.  Try to execute, fail, try again, and be better.

If you can learn to get used to taking and processing feedbacks, you’re not just vying for personal development; you’re maturity might no longer be at stake.

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