3 Reasons We Dismiss Feedback Even If It Would Make Us Better

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with one of my clients who received pretty tough feedback from a colleague about how she ran her meetings.

It wasn’t delivered on a silver platter and the person could certainly benefit from a class on how to give feedback…

..but that’s not the point. It’s not what she could control.

The only thing she could control is how she responded to it and what she does with it now.

Because look, when we receive feedback, whether delivered properly or not, we can make the choice to either ignore and rationalize it or to embrace it as an opportunity to learn something new.

If you’re only listening to feedback that was delivered to you in a constructive and caring way then you’re missing out on many opportunities to learn and grow.

Feedback is an amazing tool that can help you perform better in your job. But if you’re not open to hearing it, then it can also easily turn into a blocker to future success.

Think back to a time when you received feedback at work that didn’t sit well with you? Can you remember how it made you feel and what you thought when you processed it?

To fully take advantage of the feedback you receive and turn it into opportunities to learn, you need to first understand the 3 triggers that can get in the way of fully hearing what others are trying to say.

To find out more about these triggers, read Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen.

Trigger #1: The Truth Trigger

If you receive some feedback at work that you do not agree with, you may find yourself thinking, “this is not true.” If you think this, you are inadvertently dismissing the feedback delivered to you and blocking yourself from using it as a tool for learning and personal growth.

When feedback is seen as inaccurate, you’re less likely to become introspective and dive into exploring the reasons why this feedback was given and brainstorming what you can do to develop your skills to prevent such feedback from coming your way in the future.

Such a trigger can also create resistance toward certain people, foster attitudes on the job, and cause you to feel less confident at work—like you are being set up to fail.

Trigger #2: The Relationship Trigger

The relationship you have with the person delivering the feedback can oftentimes act as a trigger that blocks you from taking the good out of the feedback and using it to your advantage.

For example, when you think of the person delivering feedback as untrustworthy or lacking in experience and authority required to deliver such feedback to you, it’s more likely that you will just dismiss it as your ego takes over and pushes these messages away.

Trigger #3:  The Identity Trigger

This trigger occurs when the feedback you receive really hits you at your core, and you start to feel like it’s a personal attack, rather than an opportunity to learn and grow. This triggers your defense mechanisms to kick in and dismiss such feedback immediately.

This is another trigger that can create attitudes and resistance toward certain people and aspects of the job, but it doesn’t have to create problems for you at work or stand in your way of achieving success.

Instead of looking at this feedback as a personal attack, it’s important to see it as a stepping stone for learning and becoming better over time.

How To Make the Most of the Feedback Your Receive

In order to fully take advantage of all of the feedback that comes your way, you need to overcome these triggers.

Do not focus on how the feedback is delivered, or who is giving it. Rather, focus on what the person means by saying whatever they are saying, and what this person is trying to relay to you.

Cut to the core of what you can get out of the feedback that comes your way regardless of who is saying it and how it’s being said.

How can the feedback be used to your advantage? What makes them see the situation this way and how can you prevent this ‘inaccurate’ perception next time? What can you take from it to become better and stronger than before?

If you can operate from the mindset that there is always room for improvement, and that no person’s potential is ever capped and that we are constantly learning and growing, you can learn to use the feedback you receive as a tool to your advantage.

Feedback provides us insights into the areas where we need to invest, commit, and learn.

The best part about feedback is that it can come to us from various angles, perspectives, and people that we interact with at work. Understanding that feedback is likely to be delivered in various shapes and forms is essential for learning how to use all types of feedback to your advantage.

Just as so many successful entrepreneurs say that failures and setbacks are opportunities that provide valuable lessons for future growth, feedback is exactly the same.

Regardless of how it’s delivered, try to see feedback as an opportunity to improve and be better tomorrow than you were today even if that means you need to think about the feedback and reflect on it for a couple of days.

If you’re committed to strengthening your leadership skills and are curious about how I help managers on this journey, then I’d love to speak with you. Simply set up a time here to discuss your current role and your personal goals.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top