Most people don’t like to listen to views or assessments of others regarding their work or lifestyle. It is really a regrettable component of human behavior that many of us choose to steer clear of all feedback on the chance that it will be negative, in an effort to protect ourselves from hearing things we don’t want to hear. Why is it that? Moreover, why must we presume that the feedback will likely be unfavorable?

Perhaps it is the root sense that we are simply not good enough which is so persistent in our culture or perhaps the pattern of only offering feedback when we are displeased. The truth is that feedback while frequently overlooked, is nonetheless a particularly useful way to improve your productivity. When utilized effectively feedback can be an invaluable resource to improve your work or behavior that can help to give you an edge.

Why Do We Need Feedback

Feedback is just a resource to draw on; tools as it were for approval and development. Take care not to internalize feedback. It’s a judgment of work quality, not a personal indictment. Keep it in proper perspective and only give due importance. Feedback it is not about you as an individual: it’s about evaluating and improving the quality of the work you do.

Quite a while back, during a period I began questioning if anyone was actually listening to what I had to say or using any of the information and strategies I had to offer. Just a few days later, I was given a tangible and unexpected gift from a publishing partner that was a definitive sign that my work was indeed high quality and of value to others.

Each one of us wonders if we can really do a good enough job and we require the confirmation and motivation that positive feedback provides. The value of this offering had was doubly beneficial. First, it offered confirmation of the quality and value of my work; secondly, it turned out to be a wonderful demonstration of just how I can give useful feedback to others — when appropriate.

How We Can Use Feedback Effectively

  • Request – Most people simply don’t think to offer suggestions or only think to give it when it is in some way negative. Make it a standard practice to ask those you interact with how you’re doing.
  • Listen – It is not helpful to solicit feedback from others if you’re not going to actually listen to it and seriously consider it.
  • Filter – Take into consideration the potential bias of the person offering feedback when weighing the value of their opinions. Do you respect the person’s opinion? Do they have relevant experience and knowledge? Do you have confidence they will be truthful? If not, ignore them.
  • Analyze – When feedback is positive, look for ways to improve even more. Don’t brush off praise or complements! If it is negative, what are you able to glean from it? How can you improve? Keep in mind that any feedback that is malicious or only meant to be destructive has no value; ignore it.
  • Give - Learn to give offer useful feedback to others. Make sure your feedback is truthful, considerate, and helpful. Especially if your feedback is unfavorable, try to present it along with helpful suggestions for improvement.

Don’t be fearful to ask for feedback from people whose opinions you respect. Ask for it, consider it, and learn from it.

(Photo credit: Feedback Message on Notepad via Shutterstock)

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