We’ve all been on the receiving end of criticism or in a position to give it. Either way, it can be tricky, and, at times, ugly. I think of the times I’ve taken my kids out on the tennis court to to give them some coaching. When we walk back through the door, my husband immediately knows that a good time was not had by all. In my defense, I was just matter-of-factly telling them how to improve their strokes, and what they heard was “You think I’m not good enough,” or “You don’t appreciate me for what I CAN do.”
Giving and receiving feedback is tricky whether you’re talking to your kids, husband, or colleagues. But now there is an excellent book to guide you through the mine-field of evaluating, coaching, and critiquing others as well as how to receive that feedback. It’s called Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Stone and Heen. The authors point out:
Most of us do fine with positive feedback, although even praise can sometimes leave us uneasy. Perhaps we’re not sure it’s genuine or we fear we haven’t earned it.
Then there’s the tougher stuff–the feedback that leaves us confused or enraged, flustered or flattened. You’re attacking my child, my career, my character.
This kind of feedback triggers us: Our heart pounds, our stomach clenches, our thoughts race and scatter.
What to do?
Throughout the book, Stone and Heen expertly guide the reader through why we respond the way we do, how to find the truth in what we hear, and how to grow from that experience. More importantly, for anyone who is in a position to give feedback–and that’s everyone–they have excellent suggestions for understanding how to do it to bring about the best results. No matter who you are, you will glean something from this book!