Personal Feedback – The Emperor’s New Clothes

I’m not sure why I remember this so vividly, %FIRSTNAME%. At University, a group of Chemistry friends piled into my room to watch an animation (maybe even a musical version) of the emperor’s new clothes. Goodness knows why, I think there was vodka involved!

In the emperor’s new clothes, the king parades down the street stark naked after being convinced that he was wearing a gown made of the finest thread. Only a young boy, with no concept of power, hierarchy or consequences dared to point this out.

“The higher you get in an organisation, the less feedback you receive, and the more likely you are to “come to work naked.” – Reeds Hastings

When done in the right way, feedback is a gift. All too often though, feedback can feel like a personal attack. Think back to your last piece of feedback. Did it meet the following 4A feedback guidelines?

4A Feedback Guidelines

Did it aim to assist? Was there a positive intent behind the feedback?

Was it actionable? Did it focus on what you can do differently?

When receiving feedback, the natural human inclination is to provide a defence or excuse. It’s a protection mechanism. Ask yourself, “how can I show appreciation for this feedback?” Listening carefully from a place of respect, curiosity and compassion would be ideal (not always to easy to achieve in the moment, believe me, I know).

Listen and consider all feedback but ultimately, you are not required to follow it.

A couple of weeks ago I received some candid feedback on Coffee & Notes. It went along the lines of…ending your emails with speak soon is unprofessional and grammatically incorrect. You also use the collective “we” a lot. It puts me off wanting to work with you.

Did it aim to assist? I believe it did.
Was it actionable? Yes.
Did I appreciate it? Honestly, at first, no. Once I managed to override the natural defence mode, I could appreciate the gift.
Did I accept it? See for yourself.

PS: I discarded the feedback on the collective “we” as I like my emails to feel like a community of people having similar feelings and experiences 😉. To join my Facebook community, click here.

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