Constructive Feedback: Getting and Giving It

Giving and receiving feedback is shaky ground for a lot of us: moments when our work, our ideas, and our actions are open are places of immense vulnerability. But they are also the places we are the most open and receptive. If nurtured, this is where ideas evolve and innovation emerges.

Disagreement — saying this could be different and how — is an essential part of the learning process. We evolve through disagreement. Ideas are enriched through challenge.  Connections are deepened through authentic communication.

Yet giving and receiving feedback or differentiated viewpoints is one of the greatest sources of fear in our culture.  Our capacity to courageously hear and speak honestly with one another is the key to wholehearted living.

Graceful disagreement creates incredible opportunity in relationships.  Brené Brown feedback guidelines can be used as a way to set the stage for graceful disagreement:

Guidelines for Engaged Feedback – Brene Brown

I know I am ready to give feedback when:

  • I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you.
  • I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you).
  • I’m ready to listen ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue.
  • I want to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes.
  • I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges.
  • I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you.
  • I’m willing to own my part.
  • I can genuinely thank you for your efforts rather than criticize you for your failings.
  • I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to your growth and opportunity.
  • I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you.

We sometimes forget that offering and hearing feedback can be a place of mutuality and growth. Disharmony and discomfort can be grounds for transformation once grace and compassion are in the mix.

What authentic relationships require is the capacity to both hear and speak honestly together. We need to seek the fullness of multiple complete thoughts, even and especially if they are in conflict.

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