November 1, 2017
Have you ever received feedback that hurt? Did it hurt so badly that you began to cry or even feel depressed? If so, you're not alone. I conducted a survey on this very question, and 70% of the respondents said that they had found themselves depressed or teary-eyed, all at the hands of feedback.
When you feel negatively triggered by the feedback you are receiving, you may be operating in your emotional brain and rightfully so. Feedback can hurt, and it is sensed by our emotional (limbic) brain. The emotional brain houses our flight or fight response and the blood rushes from our brains to our largest muscles in the body to prepare to defend yourself (verbal fight or get out of the room). In essence, your logical brain is offline, so you are operating solely within your emotions. The key is to try to engage your logical brain so that you can use both your logic and emotion to fully understand what the sender is trying to say.
But let's be honest, some people are unskilled at giving feedback. Some people deliver it at the worst time, worst place, and in the worst way and it can change the way you feel about yourself as a human being, either temporarily or in some cases permanently. The reality is, we cannot change when, where, and how others deliver feedback. We can only focus on building our skills so that we can become exceptional receivers! No matter who is giving you the feedback (staff, peers, instructor, manager, family, friends, teammates, church members, strangers, etc.), use these five tips to help you engage your logical brain to better navigate the conversation and the flood of emotions that may come with it.
Dr. Shanita Williams has been working in the learning and development space for over 10 years. She has extensive experience in designing learning solutions that facilitate employee development at all organizational levels. She is currently the assistant vice president of Learning and Development for SNHU College of Online and Continuing Education. In her role, she works as a strategic thought partner to five business units and delivers high-impact learning programs to nearly 1,300 employees and 150 managers. Her area of expertise includes: Emotional Intelligence (EQ), DiSC, Limiting Beliefs, Change Management, Coaching, and Feedback. Shanita earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, where her research focused on the lived experiences of working mothers as students. She is the CEO of Momploydent, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is committed to helping working mothers excel academically.
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