Feedback is a vital tool in our own self development and that of our teams. Often though it has negative connotations so we shy away from it. However I believe that if delivered well and with the right mental approach it can really be a turning point in your career or that of one of your team.
I have recently come across the notion of “improving mode” when applied to feedback. This concept relies on hearing feedback or criticism both regularly but also being able to deal with that criticism with the right part of your brain. The idea is that the more you hear feedback or criticism the more you’re able to deal with the content and not the action of the feedback, you’re able to remove some or all of the emotional reaction.
To make this work you need to set up regular feedback sessions. Openly invite feedback from your peers and gather it about your team. During projects include regular points in the process to analyse what has gone well and what hasn’t. Frame this with actions for both process but also personality or working methods too.
Then you need to listen to the language and not just the tone. What is being said, what are the specifics? How do they relate to you? Refine them down to the detail rather than the emotion and you’ll have a strong action point for improvement.
It’s important to allow yourself time to reflect on the feedback. If feedback is given in an unannounced moment then it’s an easy and natural reaction to feel the impact at an emotional level. But take a moment for a bit of self reflection and you may be able to separate how you’re feeling from the message or point that is being made. Is it justified? How can you use it to improve your performance or not make the same mistake again?
I’ve heard a great little formula: Pain + Reflection = Progress. The ‘Pain’ is your emotional response. The ‘Reflection’ means you are learning something about yourself or how you work.