Can I give you feedback?


Sooner or later we all have to experience receiving feedback. And often we don’t feel good about what we hear and we react in a way that is not conducive to our goals. How can we improve here?

I recently listened to a TEDX-talk of Sheila Heen who had some interesting insights: according to her there are 3 triggered reactions to getting feedback:

  1. Truth triggers: “you are wrong!”.
    Is the feedback correct?
  2. Relationship triggers: “who are you to tell me!”
    The relationship between the feedback giver and feedback receiver is important here. We need to be able to separate the WHO from the WHAT.
  3. Identity triggers: “aarrrggghhh”!
    An emotional reaction to the trigger and the story we tell ourselves.

We are all wired differently and the way we receive feedback is closely linked to that. The way we receive feedback and the time it takes to recover from feedback is also different.

If you think about it feedback is at a crossroads between 2 factors:

  • The need to learn and grow
  • The need to be accepted and respected the way we are now

A nice tool to ask for feedback in a way that might be more palatable could be: “what is one thing you see me doing – or failing to do – that is getting in my way?


Source: TEDX Sheila Heen: how to use others’ feedback to learn and grow