Remember your last performance review? Most of us expect that a significant portion of it will be about what we are doing wrong. This creates an intense “fight or flight” reaction and immediate resistance to learning. People don’t like being told what to do or what will be good for them. Neurologically, even a benign conversation with a superior can stimulate the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for fear response. This often creates an instant rejection reaction to whatever is proposed. An article on the Harvard Business Review website talks about the importance of giving feedback to employees, and it recognizes that most feedback doesn’t work. “It is the receiver who controls whether feedback is let in or kept out, who has to make sense of what he or she is hearing, and who decides whether or not to change,” write Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone in the article. “People need to stop treating feedback only as something that must be pushed and instead improve their ability to pull.” How can you become a better receiver? Heen and Stone offer six tips:
- Be aware of how you tend to respond to feedback and criticism.
- Separate the feedback from the person who delivers it.
- Focus on the coaching aspect of feedback.
- Analyze the feedback to determine whether it’s valid and useful.
- Don’t wait for your review; take the reigns and request feedback.
- Experiment with the feedback to see what helps and what doesn’t.