How to get better at receiving feedback?

Getting feedback can be terrifying.

Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.

I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.

And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.

But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.

And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.

But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.

Reacting to mistakes

Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.

The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.

The second is to let them know what they could have done better.

It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.

The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.

The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.

Feedback and praise

I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.

Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.

Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.

It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.

Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.

This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.

Improving average

Would you rather do something average and deliver it on time or to a high standard and late?

Many people get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect. It can get to the point where it’s difficult to hand in the completed work because that means letting go. Now the work is in someone else’s hands and you’re open to their critique or feedback.

On the other hand, submitting something average might seem like the wrong thing to do but that’s not always the case.

Firstly, let me clarify that by average I mean something you haven’t spent an excessive amount of time on. Some thing that is good but if you had a few more days or weeks would be so much better.

The thing is that sometimes progress is better than perfect.

In the case of my original question, you have two options.

You can submit late and to a high standard and then hope overtime you get better at meeting deadlines.

On the other hand, you can commit to always delivering on time and know that with practice your average will get better.

Asking for feedback

Some are scared to ask for feedback whilst others are afraid to give it.

You don’t want to offend anyone or maybe if they’re more experienced than you, you don’t think you have the authority.

But I’ve learnt that it’s good to ask for feedback. In fact, I’m trying to do more of it in all aspects of my life. From colleagues, my manager, family, friends and even from you.

It’s not about looking for praise or a harsh critique but instead about opening yourself up to the perspective of the observer or receiver because you don’t see things the way they do.

For example, at work you may think that you’re doing your job well because you haven’t been given a warning or been told you’re under-performing. However, perhaps your manager has noticed you could do x, y or z differently but hasn’t said anything because you aren’t bad at what you do.

It’s about being open to seeing that there is room for improvement.

And so I wanted to ask, if you had to make a remark about this blog, what would you say?

Leave a comment or drop me an email: thedailygemm@gmail.com

What would you like from me?

I’d love to know what you like and would want more of in the future from The Daily Gemm.

It could be more about my career journey as I work on developing myself, stuff on overcoming anxiety, habits and practices, my writing process, becoming more confident or just more about Debbies brother.

I have a good idea of what I’ll be sharing next year but if there’s anything in particular that you’ve enjoyed from me this year then I’m happy to do more of that.

It’s also Christmas Eve today so think of your feedback as part of a gift exchange, one that will be returned in the new year.

 

Criticism and feedback

Which one is worth more?

Often feedback is something you ask for whereas criticism is something you get given.

And so there is the idea that criticism is always negative and feedback is useful which in some ways I think is true.

I think that both are worth something if they’re specific and can be used to make improvements but the circumstance should also be considered.

Letting a restaurant know the food arrived cold is worth more than telling an author that their book was bad because you didn’t enjoy it. Nobody enjoys cold food that’s supposed to be hot but there will always be people that like stories about aliens.

And so it’s not a conversation about criticism and feedback but instead objectivity and subjectivity.