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Unwrapping the Gift of Feedback

Feedback is a gift. Sometimes, this gift comes with so many strings and tape that it becomes difficult to open. We are thankful to receive it and then realize we don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes, when we are in these moments, we deflect and rationalize our actions or behavior, or we simply ignore it. We must unwrap feedback to understand its value, so we make wise choices.

In my book Growth Point, I share how discovering our ‘playlist’ helps build our growth-mindset muscle to better understand how we can be better and grow. Amplifying our awareness is one of the four ‘tracks on our playlist’. When we unwrap feedback with the intent to amplify, we draw attention, stop, listen, and decide how it will help us achieve what we envision. One way we can do this is by peeling back the layers of feedback through curiosity, so we uncover how we can be better.

Feedback from others is one way to amplify our awareness, and how we receive it is just as important as what we do with it. When receiving feedback:

  • Acknowledge it is not the time to rationalize or defend what you did and why

  • Show gratitude and humility, even if you need to understand it more–say thank you–just like you would when receiving a gift

  • Lead with curiosity by asking questions to broaden your perspective and understanding

  • Reflect before deciding what to do with it

When you need a deeper understanding, consider the following framework as you respond and learn how you can grow from this experience:

  1. Show gratitude: “Thank you for sharing what is on your mind.”

  2. Communicate what you need: “More information would be helpful, so I focus on the right things. Do you have a moment now to talk through this?”

  3. Gather specific behavior: “What are some examples that came up for you?” or “From your point of view, what could I have done differently?”

  4. Seek perspective: “What does it look like/sound like to you when done well?” or “Who else do you suggest I connect with to learn more?”

  5. Secure commitment for help: “Thank you, I will work on this,” followed by, “I would like to set up regular check-ins with you to gather feedback and suggestions on how I’m doing. Will that work?”

Feedback is only as good as its delivery. Specific actions and behaviors help us understand the impact we have on others. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, in receiving feedback, peeling back the layers will help you to identify your growth point, and discover what you can do today to be even better tomorrow.

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