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Feedback: Why do we struggle and what can we do?

Feedback. It must be about 10 times a day (on average) I hear this term. If so, then why do people struggle with it? This happens for several reasons, rooted in psychological and social dynamics:

  1. Fear of Criticism: Receiving feedback can trigger feelings of vulnerability and expose individuals to criticism, which can be uncomfortable or even threatening to their self-esteem.

  2. Confirmation Bias: People tend to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs or perceptions about themselves. Feedback that contradicts these beliefs may be met with skepticism or resistance.

  3. Lack of Trust: In environments where trust is lacking, individuals may perceive feedback as manipulative or insincere, leading to a defensive response or rejection of the feedback.

  4. Cultural Norms: Cultural factors can influence how feedback is perceived and delivered. In cultures where direct criticism is frowned upon, individuals may struggle to provide or receive candid feedback.

  5. Emotional Reactivity: Feedback can trigger strong emotional reactions, such as defensiveness, anger, or sadness, especially if it challenges deeply held beliefs or identities.

  6. Unclear Expectations: When expectations are not clearly communicated, feedback may come as a surprise or feel unjustified, leading to confusion or resentment.

  7. Lack of Skills: Both giving and receiving feedback effectively require certain interpersonal and communication skills. Without these skills, individuals may struggle to provide or interpret feedback accurately.

And what can we do to provide more effective feedback? Eric Partaker has summarized 6 simple, yet valuable ways to give feedback. My advice? Start with the "FEED" model and reflect on the oucome of your trials! Good luck!



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