By Roger Ellerton Phd, ISP, CMC, Renewal Technologies Inc. www.renewal.ca
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At one time or another, we are on the receiving end of advice or feedback. Sometimes it is because we have invited it to improve how we do something or our overall well-being. Other times, we may receive uninvited or unwanted feedback, simply because the provider feels that we or they can benefit from offering this information.
So how can you receive feedback in a healthy and respectful manner?
Receive feedback with a resourceful state of mind. That is, feel confident, enjoy who you are, be flexible and see possibilities. Doing so, will put you in a better state of mind to hear what is being proposed, to dovetail your needs with theirs and to get on with improving your life. If you need assistance accessing a resourceful state of mind, you may consider reading an introductory NLP book, engaging an NLP-trained coach or taking an NLP training.
If you are not in a resourceful state or the time is not appropriate, negotiate a time and place when you can be fully present. You may even inform the feedback provider that accepting this change will put you in a more open and receptive frame of mind.
Process as a Suggestion
Realize that you do not have to agree with the feedback. Simply recognize it as a suggestion that you can accept or reject. Consider it to be given with a positive intention for you. If it is offered with the intent of bringing you down to the level of the other person, recognize that this is not your issue, thank them for their feedback and move on.
You may argue that in a work environment, feedback can not be viewed as suggestions. Rather they are orders/directives and you have no choice other than to implement them as presented.
I would say that in any reasonable work environment, you do have the opportunity to get clarity on what the issue is and to explore different ways and means to address the issue. If this is not the case, you do have the option of seeking work elsewhere. To stay where you are and put up with these types of behaviours is only inviting disillusionment and illness. You and your family deserve better than that.
Sometimes when receiving feedback, you may not fully understand what you are being told or you may receive feedback that you have not requested. Rather than simply rejecting the feedback, gain clarity by:
- Exploring the provider's purpose.
- Asking clarifying questions. NLP's meta model (e.g. Who, what, when, where, how specifically, compared to what?) is very appropriate in these situations.
- Determining how the provider believes things would be different if you were to follow their feedback.
You may find that you agree with their overall intent, yet their suggested approach is not in alignment with your beliefs, strategies, etc. Now you can enlist their support (negotiate) to find alternative ways to achieve the same outcome.
View the Issue and Suggestions from Different Perspectives
Use NLP's perceptual positions to gain clarity on what may happen if you did or did not follow the provided advice. This may also give you clarity on how you can modify the provided advice to better meet your own needs.
Use as an Opportunity for Improvement
Always approach feedback as an opportunity for you to grow and improve your life. You do not have to agree with it, simply appreciate that the provider is wishing to assist you in some way.
Avoid Abusive or Inappropriate Feedback
If in some way, you interpret the feedback as abusive or inappropriate, you may choose to explore if the feedback provider is open to feedback him/herself. If yes, this can be provided in a healthy and respectful manner as outlined in my article Providing Feedback. If no, then you may wish to explore ways and means to avoid or minimize getting feedback from this person in the future.
Finish with a Thank You
What you do with the feedback and how you react is your choice. Rather, than argue individual points, respect that what has been presented to you was presented with the intention of helping you. Choose which parts, if any, of the feedback you will implement or explore further.
Thank the provider and act accordingly.
Author: Roger Ellerton is a certified NLP trainer, certified management consultant and the founder and managing partner of Renewal Technologies. The above article is based on his book Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches, Managers and You.
Copyright © 2008 Renewal Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.