Feedback – The Great, the Mediocre, and the Ugly
If you’re like me, you find feedback around every corner, especially when embarking on a new role. Sometimes that feedback changes one’s life for the better and other times it has the power to ruin your day. Unsolicited feedback can rattle around in the think tank and disrupt sleep, family time, and even invade the sacred workout brain space. It has the ability to disrupt workplace productivity, innovation, creativity, and can ultimately upset the culture. Have you ever worked at a place where the unsolicited feedback was more about your fellow employees’ insecurities than your own performance? It makes me shake my head just thinking about it.

Here’s what I’ve learned from keeping an open-door policy and graciously accepting all the feedback that was given to me. Some of it is pure rubbish. Ever heard of mansplaining? It’s patronizing and condescending. That’s what unsolicited feedback can be—it’s a power play and is more about the giver than the receiver. When I returned from Iraq in 2004 I was telling a 22-year-old man about some of my war stories and he had the gall to tell me I was wrong and that his veteran buddies had a much different take on the war. I was appalled that he said I was wrong about my own experience. My young adult self didn’t know how to react to his “feedback.”

I have also been in incredibly awkward situations when a past supervisor gave me feedback on how to respond to an employee issue. This feedback was in direct conflict with my core value of open communication and respect. It felt like a violation of my ideals and put me in a sticky situation of disobeying orders or disobeying myself.
Don’t get me wrong, feedback can be a gift. It can help us grow, it can enhance our strengths, and it can take us from good to great. I get feedback about these articles before I post them and I’m incredibly grateful for that feedback. The key to good feedback is accountability. Feedback from credible sources and trusted advisors helps us to avoid getting high on our own fumes. Unsolicited feedback is fire-and-forget, unaccountable, and is almost always about the sender.

Keep this in mind:

*Before internalizing feedback, make sure the feedback is coming from a reputable source and that the source has your best interest in mind. Listen to solicited feedback.

*The feedback should be efficacious and not detract from your positive trajectory.

*Be purposeful about surrounding yourself with people who will build you up to the best version of yourself and help you from breathing your own exhaust.

*Always remember, no matter how smart, powerful, interesting, far-up-the-ladder, or renowned the person giving the feedback is, it’s an opinion. You have the CHOICE to take it or let it go.

*It’s ok to let the unsolicited feedback take a one-way trip in one ear and out the other—especially if it’s hurtful or negative.

Good luck and continue your positive self-talk. After all, you know yourself best.