No one wants to be criticized, whether it’s in a performance evaluation or in an argument at home. But feedback is a good thing—and if we can learn to control our kneejerk negativity upon hearing it, we’d all be better off. Here are two key insights from THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK, our latest release.
Key Insight 1: The key to a successful exchange of feedback is in how it is received.
Studies show that while the way feedback is conveyed is important, if the intended audience is not receptive, the communication will still not be successful. Those giving feedback will have a much more successful experience if the receiver removes obstacles to listening and processing their advice. Most of these obstacles are rooted in pre-existing emotional and mental barriers. Identifying and ultimately relaxing these barriers allows the receiver to listen to feedback without prejudice.
Key Insight 2: Feedback is often immediately rejected because it emotionally triggers the recipient.
There are three primary triggers that block the successful exchange of feedback: truth triggers, relationship triggers, and identity triggers. Truth triggers are activated when a statement appears to flatly contradict a perceived truth about a person or situation, leading to exasperation and indignation. Relationship triggers derail feedback because of who is providing the advice. A statement that appears to undermine fundamental facts about how one views oneself is an identity trigger.