This is the last in the sub series Feedback of Basics of facilitation. We have already discussed Effective Feedback, the Aim of giving Feedback, some important tips in giving Feedback, types of Feedback, barriers in Feedback, Feedback skills and I-message in Feedback. The last topic for today in Effective Feedback is Thoughts on Receiving Feedback. So Lets get started…

Thoughts On Receiving Feedback

In general we know that we all try to give Feedback to everybody but when it comes to receiving Feedback we become defensive and argue and what not. I have shared some material on how to give, when to give and ways of giving Effective Feedback. Now is the time to learn the other way around. Receiving Feedback can be just as hard as giving it.

  • Feedback can make us blush.
  • It can make us try to disregard our own significance by shrugging off praise etc.
  • Feedback can trigger a need to explain or defend, because your own perception of a situation often differs from that of the person giving the feedback.

These points might give you an idea on the situations that occur while you are getting a Feedback. You might have different situations in mind but the point is this that Feedback is good for you and the group so try to get the message.

Common pitfalls to avoid when Receiving Feedback:

  • You get defensive.
  • You try to prove them wrong.
  • You feel you have to do something to change yourself.
  • You give an answer to justify yourself.
  • You dismiss the information.
  • You feel helpless to do anything about what you heard.
  • You change the focus and attack the speaker.
  • You generalize the message and feel bad about everything.
  • You generalize the message and think you are perfect at everything.
I hope these points will help you avoid situations that you are in and make decisions accordingly. Now here are some Feedback Steps that I learnt and I want to share with you.
Feedback Steps
When you Receive Feedback of different kind keep the following answers or starting lines in your mind so that the process of giving and receiving Feedback goes smoothly.
  • Change, Reinforce, Remain: process the feedback and make own conscious choices.
  • Understand: Listen, accepts.
  • Explain: ”yes, but…”
  • Defend: ”no.that’s not how it was”
  • Discard: ”This has nothing to do with me”

Remember that Feedback is high value information.

It is worth listening to with active, full attention.

Hearing Feedback can

  • Help you become aware of how you are getting on – the good and the bad, what’s working and what isn’t.
  • Give you some ideas to help you plan your own development, in order to reach your full potential.
  • Give you a ”reality check”- you can compare how you think you are, with what other people tell you.

Feedback doesn’t need an answer or a defense from you.

The information you hear may be new, surprising.

You may react with strong emotion.


Good feedback is an offer of information, not a diagnosis of your character or potential.

Turning criticism into useful feedback.

Sometimes if the speaker has poor Feedback skills. Use questions to find out the issue underneath the criticism. Help the person understand what you want.

If you hear a label eg weak, hostile, brilliant, creative:

  • Ask what lead the person to form that impression of you.
  • Ask for specifics – what you did or said; when it happened?

If you hear something you don’t understand:

  • Show that you would like to understand . Ask them to go through it again.

If the person doesn’t say what they’d prefer you to do:

  • Ask for suggestions – ”do you have any ideas about what can I do to improve…”

This is the end of the awesome small series of Feedback within Basics of Facilitation. At the end as I promised I will try to summarize all the parts in few lines and to give you my final tips so here is the summary in the form of tips and points.

  • AIM directly, AVOID tip-toeing
  • Say I, not WE or ONE. 
  • Don’t speak for others.
  • Describe behavior and the effect it has on you, don’t EVALUATE or JUDGE.
  • Give specific Feedback and focus on the Feedback which the person can do something about.
  • Ask how the person perceives your Feedback.
  • Think about TIMING and AMOUNT of Feedback.
  • Support and create a Feedback climate.

This is it folks. I hope this will help you change the way you work and make you a great team member.

Next I am going to write about Group Dynamics so stay tuned for another exciting series. Meanwhile don’t stop on doing Reflection everyday.
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