Tuesday November 27 2018

PULSE 27/11/18

An expert on managing difficult negotiations, Sheila Heen is a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and a founder of Triad Consulting. 

Feedback is how we learn about ourselves and the impact we are having in the world. It’s not just a formal process at work, but also the way our children respond to us or the input we get from our in-laws. 

We need to learn that there are 3 different kinds of feedback with different purposes but we need all three to learn and grow

A – Appreciation – someone acknowledging the effort (keeps us motivated)

C – Coaching – helps us to get better at something – skill, knowledge or effectiveness (helps us to get better) 

E – Evaluation – rates and ranks us against criteria and peers (tells us where we stand)

Think about advice / coaching you were given and jot down why you rejected it. Perhaps you thought it was wrong or bad advice or you didn’t respect or like or trust the person. Perhaps you were just being too stubborn or at that stage we were too young.

Sometimes we just reject feedback too soon as we are busy looking for what is wrong with it – we will always find something wrong with it – but that small percentage that may be right is exactly what we need to 


The receiver of feedback is the one who is in charge of what happens with that feedback – how well or negatively received and how much one does or does not change. Receiving feedback is a skill that we can all get better at – regardless of how poorly the feedback may be given. 

Feedback sits at the junction of wanting to learn and grow and the need to feel accepted and respected or loved the way we are. Feedback suggests that we are not all okay and that people would like to see some changes in us and this is what leads to conflicting feelings about feedback. 

Skills in Handling Feedback:

  • Initially not doing something – not deciding if it is right or wrong immediately but rather focusing first on what the giver of the feedback means.
  • Then there is need to see yourself accurately – hard for us to do, yet people see that of us every day! Enlist a friend to help. Allow them to hold up a ‘supportive mirror’ – which sees the good in you and measures you and then when you are ready, ask them to hold up the ‘honest mirror’ – the one that answers the question, “Is there anything right about this feedback that I should pay attention to?”

Jesus models the conflict between the need to feel accepted or respected or loved the way we are now and the need to grow – He accepts us just the way we are now – in our brokenness and fear and He commands us to grow. Reading the Word Of God and prayerfully speaking and listening to God helps with growth but often the largest catalyst for growth comes through relationship with others.