The Major Conflict About Feedback and How It Is Affecting Your Growth

When I asked some people about their feeling on feedback, the responses are they are fine to receive feedback. Feedbacks provide them the opportunity to grow. Beside that, they are very willing to provide feedback to others as well. Based on the survey, people are viewing feedbacks in a positive light.

However, there is a major conflict about what these people say and how they react in actual situation. They don’t exactly do what they say, in fact some even act the exact opposite of what they say.This is the major conflict about feedback.

Typically when a colleague told you that she has a feedback for you, what will your response be?

These are 2 usual kinds of response.

The first type becomes very defensive and get into a debate with the sender. An example of this type of response looks like this:
“I noticed that you raised your voice a little when you were persuading the rest yesterday.”
“I wasn’t raising my voice. That’s my normal volume.”
“Alright, but you could have talk in a nicer tone.”
“I was in a nice tone, and I was very calm.”
“I also notice that you have the tendency to interrupt before others complete their sentence.”
“I didn’t know that I do it. Cannot be, I hated those who interrupt me, so I won’t do it to others.”

The 2nd kind of response will be having an answer for every feedback thrown at you. Here is an example:

“I noticed that you are raise your voice a little when you were persuading the rest yesterday.”
“Yes, I raised my voice because I thought I would be more energetic.”
“Alright, but you could have talk in a nicer tone.”
“Don’t worry, they know that I actually don’t mean to be rude.”
“I also notice that you like to interrupt before others complete their sentence.”
“Because I already know what they are going to say. This way we can shorten the time of meeting.”

While most claim that they are fine with receiving feedback, but these two typical responses collided with what they claim. What is actually going on at the back of our mind? How come while we claim that we are fine with feedback, we are behaving otherwise?

The answer is because we placed a negative connotation onto receiving feedback. When you are getting a feedback from someone, this means you are not doing a good enough job. “Not good enough” becomes the hidden meaning of receiving feedback.

So subconsciously we believe that if someone is providing us feedback, we associate it with “we are not up to standard”. In order to project out the image of being up to par, we go on defensive when feedback is given.

Receiving feedback carries a negative image to it. Most of us prefer not to be at the receiving end.

On the contrary, people are more willing to provide feedback. Providing feedback carries power. When you are providing feedback, it shows that you are in a power position. Giving feedback is like the good correcting the not good.

Holding onto this conventional belief about feedback hinders your growth. Carrying this kind of belief doesn’t support you to grow as a person, instead causes you to rot from inside.

As receiving feedback carries a negative image, it adds stress to those who give feedback. While the ones who give feedback seems to be in power, but the concern of hurting those on the receiving ends discourage a healthy feedback loop.

The receiver holds a negative connotation about receiving feedback, so he/she is either get defensive or upset. The sender reluctance to provide feedback is due to either the close-up or emotiona state of the receiver. Eventually, nobody wants to provide feedback anymore; the feedback culture dies, and no one gets personal improvement due to the lack of feedback.

Growing The Feedback Culture In You

Discard the right and wrong context about feedback. I am going to boldly exclaim this belief here. For some, this new belief will take sometime to sink in because we live in a right/wrong world all this while.

The new belief: All feedbacks are neutral. Feedbacks are not wrong/negative. Feedbacks are just an observation about you, and then you place whatever meaning onto it.

To me, all feedbacks are opportunity to grow and become wiser. Coming from this angle, all feedbacks are positive/right. When I learn from a feedback, it is a positive experience despite I may not perform up to standard in someone else’s eyes.

Viewing all feedbacks as positive opens up a new possibility. Your growth becomes limitless when you open to feedbacks.

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