None of us is perfect, and we all could improve. At our best, we are open to honest, constructive feedback. Unfortunately, our egos and insecurities can get in the way, preventing us from a growth opportunity. We each have different temperaments, and receiving feedback can be difficult for some, especially when unsolicited.
The older I get, I realize everyone’s feedback is not equal. Some people mean well but haven’t a clue, and they typically provide feedback you didn’t ask them for! They haven’t walked in your shoes nor do they comprehend the situation or circumstance you are in. They are compelled to tell everyone what they think and what they should do. This is NOT constructive feedback; feel free to ignore it. I wouldn’t even bother responding. Say, “Thanks,” and move on.
What I have learned is to seek wise counsel from those I trust and respect. Their feedback matters because they have been where you have been, and they got through it. Even when we ask for their feedback, we must put effort into listening and learning from it. The ego is a powerful thing! It is what gives us that extra push when we need it to overcome an obstacle, but it can get in the way by building up defensive walls.
Using DISC, I’ll share some tips on how to receive constructive feedback in a more effective manner. Remember, we each have D-I-S-C in us! Regardless of your primary style and blend, certain aspects of our personality can pop up trying to prevent our personal development.
The D part of us (direct, demanding, doer) can get his/her back up and go into fight mode, striving to prove they are right and the other person is wrong. Knowing this about yourself allows you to lower that D and raise up the S (stable, steady, supportive) to listen intently with your heart.
The I component of our personality that wants to be liked and is very emotional can overreact, blame, and respond harshly to feedback. Feelings are hurt, and we are offended. Lowering this and increasing your C puts your emotions on the side burner and gives your brain a chance to hear the details and logic.
Assuming you do trust and respect the individual, their feedback isn’t to harm you but to help you. We must keep that in mind as we listen, process, think about it, and then respond. Questions are a great way of probing and delving into the feedback so you understand it and how it relates to you and your current situation.
Never forget the God factor in all of this. Even those who want to help you can speak out of turn and not align with what God has told you. This is where prayer comes in. I have had countless professionals tell me I should be doing something for my business when I know God clearly said no. The challenge is to ensure God is actually saying it and not your ego. If feedback doesn’t feel right to me, I sit on it. I then filter it through time with God and see what comes through.
Be sure to thank those who take the time to invest in your life by offering constructive feedback, whether you use it or not. Coming up in September, I’ll share how to give constructive feedback to others is a positive way.
Understanding all of your personality helps not only with feedback but with communication, conflict, and all relationships. My book, Leveraging Your Communication Style, will help you discover your blend and how to maximize it for your success.