Saturday, July 19, 2008

Accepting Feedback - Learning to Change

It would be ideal to live in a world where individuals had the ability to accept constructive feedback and also possess the ability to deliver feedback in a manner that is truly beneficial to the person receiving it.

Unfortunately, this is not how people generally operate and tend to go the path of doing anything to protect themselves from confronting reality and accepting feedback which they may/may not know as the truth. What we usually see, do and hear is outright denial. Most people will deflect the issues instead of accepting them and choose to place the problem somewhere else, therefore not taking responsibility of their own actions. Others minimize the feedback’s importance to make it seem irrelevant or something that is not done on a frequent basis. Many opt to go the next step of attacking the person who provided the feedback, but in a manner that appears to justify the attack with sound reasoning and what have you.

In the feedback process, the problems don’t usually lie in receiving positive feedback. Most of us are willing to hear about it and enjoy paying attention to the things we are doing well. Negative feedback, however, is far more difficult to receive. Addressing negative feedback is to recognize and accept it, and then to make a concentrated effort to change. In order to undertake any change, it is important to recognize that change does not happen quickly or easily. Each of us has certain traits, idiosyncrasies and habits that have been with us for as long as we can remember. Therefore, It is helpful to assess a timeline of what one is capable of changing.

Bottom line, CHANGE IS NOT EASY! We have heard this several times before and I am sure people will not argue with this if you have already tried changing aspects of your lives. In order to change, an individual must be willing to accept feedback and also recognize what behaviors need to be changed and then put forth the required effort to make the change. The reason this becomes a challenge for most is because each of us are secure with our current state and are comfortable without exerting the energy required to facilitate change. There is an uncertainty and discomfort with facing change which leads to people becoming nervous at the possibility of failing to make the necessary changes required to improve one’s overall well being.

Professionals consider three great motivators that initiate change. These motivators are Fear, Pain and Reward. Understand that there will be tough times ahead, however the rewards will be worth the entire process. Learn to work on accepting feedback, share what you’re trying to improve on with your colleagues/friends/family and tackle the changes head on.

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