Feedback is not a Competitive Act

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Learning |


Asking for feedback and commentary on a piece of work can be a scary endeavour. People may not like it. They may ask tough questions, challenge your idea. They may, hopefully they will, provide new insights, help you see assumptions you didn’t even know you were making. And hopefully they will provide encouragement too.

Providing feedback is a generous act. A gift of time and of engagement. And yes, there are helpful and not so helpful ways to provide feedback. Even critical feedback. Pointing out everything you don’t like is not helpful. In some cases asking questions that draw the creator into deeper work is helpful. In other situations, providing suggestions ‘what if you said it like this….’ is better.

The feedback exchange is not, and should be, a competitive act. Rather it should be generous. But here’s two things: 1. Don’t ask for feedback if your response to every piece of feedback is going to be defensive and an argument about why the feedback is wrong. 2. Acknowledge the feedback and engage with the person giving it, don’t blank them. You don’t have to listen to or follow everything that is said. However, it is a gift they have given you, the least you can do is say thank you.

Photo by Vlad Hilitanu


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