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Giving and Receiving Feedback – You Are Not a Doormat

Giving and Receiving FeedbackPeople sometimes leave feedback training confused. Armed with the skills to be candid, they think they have the right to say anything they want. Not the case. Feedback isn’t a weapon or a license to barf your opinion on people. Unsolicited and unwelcome feedback is like fish you left on your counter top for too long. It stinks.

You have the right to ask for and accept the feedback you want and reject the feedback you don’t, from peers and customers. Help people know the difference by providing clear parameters on what type of input you do and don’t want. You are not a dumping ground.

Follow these steps to manage the feedback you get from others:

Giving and receiving feedback tip one:  Don’t ask for feedback because you think you’re supposed to. There are lots of leadership books and training programs that tell leaders to be open to and ask for others’ input. Only ask for input you want. If you’ve made a decision or don’t want others’ input, don’t ask for it. While you might get more buy in by asking people for their input on decisions that impact them, you’re allowed to decide without forming a committee.

Giving and receiving feedback tip two:  When you ask for input, be very specific about the type of input you want. Guide people. Tell them, “I’m specifically looking for input on ____________.  I’m not looking for input on ____________.” And if you still receive unwanted feedback, remind people about the input you are and aren’t looking for. In the spirit of being helpful, people can overstep their bounds.

Giving and receiving feedback tip three:  Don’t be afraid to shut people down who provide unsolicited feedback. The words, “Thank you for your concern. I’m not looking for input on that at this time” will do the trick. Yes, you really can say that.

Giving and receiving feedback tip four:  Don’t take feedback personally. While most people don’t think about it in this way, giving feedback subtly tells you that you’re doing something wrong, or at least not how the other person would do it. There are lots of ways to skin a cat. Their way may or may not be better than yours. To “skin a cat” is a terrible expression, by the way.

Giving and receiving feedback tip five:  Trust yourself. You likely know what you want to do a lot of the time. If you find yourself asking for input when you know what you want to do, stop asking. Listen to your gut and decide.

Feedback has a time and a place. I ask for and listen to a lot of feedback, but not all the time and not about everything. If I listened to everything everyone in my life suggested, I wouldn’t own a business or have a baby. Sometimes you know best.

Giving and receiving feedback

 

About 

Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at www.candidculture.com.

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8 Responses to “Giving and Receiving Feedback – You Are Not a Doormat”

  1. Eugene says:

    I assume you are referring to feedback from peers, not superiors. Part of one’s job is to accept feedback from your managers in order to get better. Deciding not to accept feedback from your boss is NOT a good career move! Obviously the boss should give you the feedback respectfully and professionally, but it is your obligation to accept it (there are time you can refuse to hear the feedback due to a deadline or frame of mind, but it should not be systemic). Just thought I’d make sure I was understanding your blog correctly. Regards.

  2. Mary says:

    Great blog, and timely too. I got “vomited on” by a peer the other day in a staff meeting. Total blindside and a little hurtful too. Now I know how to handle this situation should it happen again in the future.

  3. Karen M Wheeler says:

    Shari,

    I am learning so much from your blog, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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