In addition to formulating your own feedback, accepting feedback is the supreme discipline of every conversation. Unfortunately, many people respond to negative feedback too often with justifications. A comprehensible reaction, because after all you want to be seen in the right light by your counterpart.
Nevertheless, justification usually gives the feedback giver the impression that the feedback recipient will not really think about what has been said. Because all sorts of reasons were given why the behavior shown was entirely justified in the case of X, Y or Z.
In the worst case, justifying yourself too often will result in your counterpart not giving any negative feedback at all next time. For example, because he or she only expects justifications and no insights on your side.
Sometimes a simple “thank you” is just about right!
My tip: Accepting feedback correctly means listening to everything that has been said and then thanking; without justification. From the feedback giver’s point of view, I really like statements such as:
- “I am working on it. Thank you.”
- “It won’t happen again.”
- “I will think about it. Thanks for your feedback.”
Getting such answers, gives me the good feeling that I was really heard.
However, if you feel so misunderstood that you absolutely want to answer something, please do so at the end of the conversation. In this case, you should comment on a maximum of one or two statements from your counterpart! Experience has shown that this time separation between feedback and a corresponding answer from you rarely leads to the feeling that the feedback is not being correctly accepted.
It is also important that you accept all of your counterpart’s statements neutrally and do not react insulted or even snappily, because this can also result in less feedback next time. At best, make the feedback giver feel that his or her feedback is very welcome. You could even invite them to give you more negative feedback. This is the only way that you are very likely to find out things that will ultimately help you.
There is no negative feedback!
I personally do not see negative feedback as actually negative. On the contrary: Getting only positive feedback offers you little or no potential for further development. I find it very exciting to get to know other opinions and above all other perspectives on myself.
I know that I am not infallible, I am happy to admit if I am wrong and I am always willing to develop myself personally. And even if you come to the conclusion that you don’t want to change anything after a “negative” feedback, then that’s absolutely fine. Getting feedback doesn’t mean you have to change anything. But you should at least think about what has been said!