15 Reasons To Ignore Feedback
Most people aren’t qualified to give you feedback. At least it seems that way.
You’re feedback is insightful, caring, and helpful. But, their feedback is irrelevant, uncaring, and confusing.
Your feedback is right, but, surprisingly, their feedback is wrong.
15 reasons to minimize or ignore feedback:
- You just don’t give a damn.
- They don’t understand you.
- They don’t accept you as a person.
- You have more experience.
- They don’t appreciate the pressures and stresses you feel.
- They have a bad attitude.
- You’re more successful..
- They have their own problems.
- You’re older and wiser.
- Your title suggests they should listen to you, but you don’t have to listen to them.
- They have selfish reasons for giving feedback.
- They’re abrupt, even rude.
- You’ve already arrived.
- You don’t have time.
- They’re wrong.
Strategies for ignoring or avoiding feedback range for reasonable to ridiculous. The bottom line is, if they can’t walk on water, you don’t have to listen.
Why are you a genius when giving feedback, but they are idiots when they give it?
5 ways to receive feedback:
- Start with thank-you, always.
- Don’t say, “But.” Go with, not against.
- Could I have some time to think this over? (If it’s hard to take.)
- Could you give examples?
- What behaviors would make me a better leader?
Interpretation or observation:
Feedback typically begins with interpretation. Someone says, You’re angry, aggressive, uncaring, or dragging your feet. The words you just read are interpretations and conclusions.
Useful feedback begins with observation, not interpretation. “I notice you frown when you speak to employees.”
“You lean back with your arms crossed during meetings. You seem detached or arrogant.” (Observation first. Interpretation second.)
We argue over interpretations. Its better to ask for observation and illustration. “What am I doing, specifically, that makes you think I’m uncaring or detached?”
What makes feedback hard to take?
How can leaders give effective feedback?
This post is inspired by, “Thanks for the Feedback,” by, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen.
One little bit of feedback Dan, and I’m not picking on you but possibly poking …… First line intro to topic matter “……..But, they’re feedback is irrelevant, uncaring, and confusing.” The they’re should be their …… and I am only raising this because I care …… 🙂
Happy Independence Day
Dan, don’t listen to Imelda. She just doesn’t accept you as a person 😛
Thanks James, I gotta be me. 😉
I’m just virtually ignoring that comment James, because I can …… lol …….
Imelda, I am in total agreement with you. I almost didn’t read the rest of the article because of the incorrect use of “they’re”. And I read Dan’s posts every day.
Thank-you Imelda! 🙂
When feedback creates an image of who we are that is contrary to our own self image, it’s unsettling. We think this person must be having a bad day or have had some odd upbringing to think of us that way.
My most successful ways of staying out of a defensive stance include stating that I didn’t realize I came across that way and asking for what about my mannerisms, tone, or words might have given that impression. Getting specific by asking about something like your own mannerisms helps the other person (and yourself) realize that you acknowledge there are multiple factors that can contribute to an unexpected perception and different ways to interpret them.
James, I really like your suggestion and am going to try it next time I receive feedback!
Thanks James. Bingo!
When feedback goes against our self-perceptions, its hard to take. Listening to what people see is helpful. I heard about one person who asked to have their meetings recorded. People had told them how they came across but it didn’t really hit them until they heard it with their own ears. Cheers
Perhaps if managers experienced an annual 360 such comments would not came as a surprise?
Thanks Bob. Good point!
Another reason to minimise feedback – it’s a schlepp to get it. You give your ‘state of the nation’ speech. But does it land? We found formal feedback takes too long, informal chats too biased. To fill the gap, we developed http://www.360pollster.com – fast, free anonymous feedback. Try it out.
Thanks for offering your persepctive Mike.
thanks for the 360 pollster.com – I will use it to get feedback on our school term. great idea.
FEEDBACK IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO ANY PERFORMANCE.
But, Dan, I agree as to the issues about the source. There are also issues around the timing of it, since any delay dramatically reduces effectiveness. Think about playing the piano with even a 5-second delay in the notes…
I wrote about this in a blog last year and offered up a 14-point Analysis of Feedback checklist that few people score well in. It is mainly to share specific thoughts about how feedback can be changed so that it is created by the employee, framed around specific goals and expectations, and that can be SUPPORTED by the manager (but not created by them!).
I am really Old School when it comes to behavioral technology and performance management. We continue to do so many goofy things that don’t work well in our workplaces when we could simply choose to do things differently for far better results.
Take a look at that blog and download and mess with the analysis. Use it as a discussion and coaching tool, even…
Thanks Dr. Scott. I’m glad you brought timing into the conversation. That’s another important element of this conversation. Nice!
Intent is everything. If your intent is to help the person, backed up by genuine caring, it just might land and be received. Similarly, if I’m receiving feedback and I feel the person has my best interests at heart, wants me to succeed, and appreciates me as a person (and we want the same things in regards to successful outcomes), then it is so much easier to be receptive, than defensive.
Thanks Susan. We need to feel like the person giving feedback is on our team. Without good intentions, feedback goes bad. We could add that feedback might go bad if we have good intentions. We can be sincerely wrong. But, good intention is foundational.
Effective feedback Is all about relationship and respect. How would you want someone to discuss things with you? Have you cultivated a relationship that lends itself to having these type of conversations – have you said anything positive to set the tone initially? As a leader what have I done to facilitate a climate that supports giving and receiving feedback?
Thanks Phyllis. Absolutely! Relationship is the foundation for the functions of leadership. That’s especially true of feedback.
honest feedback on our weaknesses is a gift.
That’s the truth, Bill.
This whole observation first interpretation second is my biggest take away from this post. Observations are difficult to argue against. Interpretations are wide open. This technique will definitely be added to my management tool bag. Thanks!
Thanks Jeffrey. It’s a pleasure to be found useful. I find this initial skill takes concentration.
Happy Fourth of July to our country. There is a parallel to the key to feedback and to what makes America remarkable. I believe it’s in the word ACCEPTANCE. Yes, we can argue the why, when, where and how aspects, but for the most part acceptance is key to this conversation.
When people are queried what they believe makes America special, and why most people are proud to be American, most say the same things: Opportunity, freedom of speech and religion, the ability to get an education, equality, the capacity to work hard and do well, a giving nation, etc. I believe, of course, these persons are correct.
At the same time, I also believe God blessed America–like He has all countries and continents. A possible difference, though, is that early America and Americans ACCEPTED God’s blessings in the form of gifts or talents–and worked hard and together to build a faithful, Christian country. Neither did we squander God’s blessings nor did we turn our backs on God: America and Americans have always been faithful and grateful to God. This is what makes America rather exceptional.
The same can be said of leaders and feedback. Feedback is a “sandpaper” refinement process, not a “chisel and hammer” event, like when Michelangelo first carves into marble and is setting free the angel only he sees. Feedback is leadership ACCEPTANCE of input and insight that may be of value. At the very least, leaders are hearing their staff…and one day will hear: This is what makes this leader exceptional.
Thanks for your post. Nothing is more annoying than lack of feedback from businesses, friends alike. Certainly a sign of poor character.
You inspired me to write more on feedback and the Centre for Creative Leadership’s SBI process.
All the best
Lots of great ideas for how to think differently about feedback….. I really love the suggestion from James about how to respond when feedback doesn’t along with our own self-perceitons and identity…. what a great way to keep the conversation moving from ‘judgment and triggering’ to real valuable insights about impact.
“My most successful ways of staying out of a defensive stance include stating that I didn’t realize I came across that way and asking for what about my mannerisms, tone, or words might have given that impression..”
Feedback is a ‘holding place’ for many things. We too often associate feedback with ‘pain and judgment’ because we often get ‘feedback’ when someone is feeling we did something wrong. However if we ‘double-click’ on the word feedback we can discover that it has many meanings… and many types of purpose/intent.
Setting the tone with someone by ‘priming the conversation’ and setting the context for how to listen and receive the feedback – enables people to hear what you want to share with them as ‘valuable’ not ‘fearful’, and also removes the defensiveness that is often ‘automatic and primitive’ in our brains.
In my new book Conversational Intelligence: How great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, there are great ideas, practices and rituals for how to lower the activation of the ‘fear networks’ in our brain – and open the capacity for people to listen with trust – candor and caring – so feedback becomes something we crave rather than something we fear…
Great blog! Judith E. Glaser
“Feedback is the diet of a healthy sustainable person”. We should seek it with intention and often. Nice work Dan on creating the conversations. Great post.
thank you Dan, I feel a little wiser today. I believe we should always be open to listening to feedback, but should always take it with a grain of salt. -BEAST
Great post, thanks.
One question – I’ve always asked for examples of my behaviour when receiving feedback, but a few times I’ve heard “Well, I can’t think of any examples right now”.
My usual response to this is “Thanks, I’ll be aware that this might be a problem, please let me know if you notice this behaviour again and we’ll talk about it again”, but it feels like a frustrating way to finish a conversation for both parties involved.
Have you got any suggestions for how I might get better outcomes from these conversations?
I like the leaders that ask for feedback, or invite suggestions to be put into a company suggestion box…open and read the suggestions…list them and post periodically…invite all staff members to pick their top two…and then pull together a team to turn each into a reality.