Tip For Receiving Feedback – If Your Mouth Is Open, Your Ears Are Closed


Many people don’t like giving feedback – they may fear that any comment seen as critical will be unwelcome.

They may fear the opposite – that telling you what you do well may be seen as sucking up.

Let’s deal with feedback about what you do well

How graciously do you respond to this? Often in workshops about feedback people comment about their awkwardness in receiving feedback – they realise they can easily be dismissive – “Oh it was nothing!”

Dismissing feedback can teach others not to give any feedback. Why bother if you airily dismiss others’ comments?

After talking it over in workshops many resolve to respond to feedback graciously – “Thank you – you know it was a team effort, I relied on Jasmin for the data”.

Feedback about what you can do differently.

If you respond to feedback with excuses, defensiveness, and resistance – feedback will dry up. When feedback dries up – you may start to convince yourself your behaviour and performance is exceptional – after all – no complaints – right, that’s a good thing?

Occam’s Razor would suggest a simpler explanation of the feedback drying up – your response is so tiresome, your colleagues just can no longer be bothered.

Here are some ways to help you respond to feedback, and so encourage those around you to offer feedback – making you more amenable to feedback.

Some techniques to help while getting feedback:

  1. Assume the person is acting with good intentions, and focus on what the person is saying and not who the person is
  2. Listen – don’t talk. If your mouth is open, your ears are closed. Look at the person, nod, be helpful – giving feedback is uncomfortable so make it easy for the other person – plus – doing that will help you relax a little.
  3. If you’re unclear what the person has said to you – ask a few questions to get a clear understanding. Your only task here is accurately to understand what the other person is saying.
  4. Ask the other person for one suggestion about what you could do differently

After the feedback:

  1. You may be unsure about the merit of the feedback – check with others who will tell what you need to hear and not what you may want to hear.
  2. Decide what changes you can make based on the feedback.
  3. Continue to ask for feedback.
  4. Let the person know when you make changes based on their opinion.

This post is by Joe Moore. Joe is the founder and principal of Kimber Moore Associates. He and his team are highly skilled in helping leaders and staff deal with uncertainty, change, complexity and conflicts. You can contact Joe here



About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s