How to Reject Stupid Feedback
The director of the Antwerp Academy of Art called Vincent Van Gogh’s work, “Putrefaction,” and sent him back to the beginning class.
Van Gogh, contrary to myth, sold more than one painting in his lifetime. He sold at least two.
If Beethoven had listened to his teachers, he would have drifted into oblivion.
An innovative genius should ignore feedback. But that probably doesn’t apply to you and me. However, If you want to do something remarkable, you may need to ignore feedback. Luke Burgis
How to reject stupid feedback:
High performance requires feedback. Imagine practicing putts but never seeing where the ball goes. However, feedback isn’t always applicable.
To listen or reject feedback:
- How clearly is feedback based in mission and vision? Luke Burgis
- How well does the feedback giver know your strengths and talents?
- Is the feedback an attempt to mold you into the feedback giver’s image?
Feedback that enables you to see yourself more clearly transforms you.
Feedback that presses you into conformity may be destructive. Some conformity is necessary. But the areas where you don’t conform represent remarkable contribution.
You don’t need discernment when the winner is clear.
Discernment is about probabilities, not guarantees.
Luke Burgis said, discernment includes silence and future authoring. What are the things I will do in the future if I make this decision?
- Is about purpose. A person who is foggy on their purpose has little discernment.
- Isn’t about ease. The right choice may be more painful than the wrong.
- Brings the future to bear on the present. Discernment applies a long-term lens to immediate decisions.
- Thinks about endings. Beginnings are seductive and blinding.
- Concerns “what you want,” more than what you don’t want.
Painful feedback may be useful, but how might leaders discern stupid feedback?
How might leaders give useful feedback?
Painful feedback may be useful, but how might leaders discern stupid feedback? Understanding anything is possible, yet knowing what is more likely and reasonable.
How might leaders give useful feedback? When we share with the intent to educate and provide vision. Without vision often times we lack a direction.
If the person giving the feedback is clearly just going through the motions, then the feedback is most likely going to be stupid. Same with vague feedback (Great job! Keep up the good work.)
Unless you are a creative genius, most the feedback you are going to get at work is very much going to be about attempting to mould you into the feedback giver’s image. Let’s be honest, that’s how most management operates in most places. They want you to do a certain thing in a certain way. The chances are that if you ignore this sort of feedback, you are not going to fit in the organisations that are giving it to you.
The “stupid feedback” that used to frustrate me the most were the premature “Turn the ship around!” or “Abandon hope!” alarms at the first sign of difficulties when a new program or project had barely begun. This most often came, predictably, from those whose commitment to the current course was questionable at best. It was really opposition merely disguised as feedback.
While valid feedback can come from any quarter, I quickly learned to “consider the source” when evaluating feedback, especially the alarmist type.
Enjoying this post and the comments today. I especially like the emphasis on discernment and alignment with vision and mission. Too much feedback is an attempt to “form” the person to a style comfortable to the leader. Mature leadership and feedback will be grounded in relational trust, vision and mission with intention to help the person in front of you become outstanding.
Thought-provoking post, Dan. Thank you. The hardest feedback to evaluate contains some truth, some facts, about you but puts them in a context that leads to a conclusion you instinctively feel is wrong. The 3 feedback questions you listed are incisive, but sometimes answering them can take an awful lot of personal examination. Those same questions could be an excellent check on feedback you want to give others. Wow. This one hit me hard.
Leaders are in a position to set the culture of the organization. One area that leaders can set the culture of the organization is by giving and receiving useful feedback. An example that comes to mind with giving feedback is if a team member has worked very hard on a certain task and presents the final product to the leader. The leader can set the tone of the organization’s culture by ensuring that team member understands the appreciation and hard work put into the project. The leader can simply give praise to that team member on the effort of that team member. On the opposite end, the leader can set a negative culture of the organization by glossing over the hard work that team member put into the project. Not every task needs to be praise by a leader to team members, but when a team member goes above and beyond then that team member deserves noteworthy feedback.