For the exclusive use of Y. Kagawa, 2022.
DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS 2.0:
Thanks for the Feedback!
In the realm of feedback, the receiver — not the giver — is the key player in the exchange. Here’s how to become a world-class receiver.
by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
WHEN LEADERS THINK about improving feedback in their organiza-tions, they tend to identify two avenues: setting up and executing sound performance management systems, and helping people improve their feedback-giving skills. While both are important, we have found that the way one receives feedback is actually the most important variable in determining the value of a perfor-mance conversation. The fact is, you can be the most skillful feedback giver on the planet, but at the end of the day, the receiver is in charge of what they ‘let in’ and whether they choose to change. A skillful and thoughtful receiver can draw value out of any feedback —even if it is poorly delivered. By becoming a skillful receiver of feedback, you can achieve three important benefits:
1. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE-LONG LEARNING: When we get bet-ter at receiving feedback, we take charge of our own learn-ing and can accelerate our growth. Learning and growth are deeply satisfying for their own sake, but the real payoff is that we get better at what we’re doing and improve our abil-ity to accomplish what is important to us. The best part for the organization: as individuals work to improve, team per-formance experiences a multiplier effect.
2. IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: The way we handle feedback has an impact on our relationships. If we’re open to feed-back, we send two important messages: that we are confi-dent and that growth matters to us. In fact, research shows that people who solicit feedback — especially negative feed-back—tend to receive higher evaluations than those who don’t. In personal relationships, receiving feedback requires us to be vulnerable, and letting others in to help us creates intimacy. Keeping feedback at bay, professionally or person-ally, can be disastrous: the people around us need a way to discuss how our behavior is impacting them, and if we close off that outlet, a corrosive tension will begin to eat away at the relationship from the inside.
3. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY: For the more sensitive among us, there’s one more important benefit: getting better at re-ceiving feedback reduces stress and anxiety. When we get tough feedback and feel devastated or off balance, learning is the last thing on our minds. Improving how we manage feedback means improving how we deal with those times when we’re flooded or panicked or just sick with self-doubt. We may still get knocked over on occasion, but we can learn
Rotman Management Spring 2014 / 71
This document is authorized for use only by Yohsuke Kagawa in Fall 2022 taught by Leticia Porter, University of Massachusetts – Lowell from Sep 2022 to Feb 2023.
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