“There is an element of truth in every piece of constructive feedback.”



In my book Navigate, I write about the 4 different buying behavior styles and how psychologically buyers make decisions based on their fears.

– The Fighter’s biggest fear is “losing control.”
– The Detective’s biggest fear is “making a mistake.”
– The Counselor’s biggest fear is “change.”
– The Entertainer’s biggest fear is “rejection.”

The fear of feedback is interesting because it affects all 4 behavior styles the same. No one naturally likes feedback. It cuts to the core of who we are. It offends our egos. After all, how dare someone tell you what you need to work on, when they have so many obvious faults of their own?

There are 2 types of feedback.

1. Destructive Feedback – Destructive Feedback is evil. People use it to make themselves feel more important than someone else. Destructive feedback comes in several forms. One way is where someone will highlight an obvious weakness of other person to make them feel inferior. Another way is simply make things up and lie about someone’s actions and character. It is best to cut out anyone in your life who consistently is giving you destructive feedback.

2. Constructive Feedback – Constructive Feedback is what people use to help other people improve the people they care about the most.

The best leaders in the world are the best at receiving constructive feedback, internalizing constructive feedback and changing based on the constructive feedback.

Here are 3 tips about giving and receiving constructive feedback.

1. Don’t Be Defensive!
Always assume the person giving you the constructive feedback has your best interest in mind and is taking the time to give you constructive feedback because they care about you.

It is so frustrating to work with someone or have a conversation with someone who is a “know-it-all”. Life is all about learning. If you are not learning, you are dying. The “know-it-all” people of the world will not reach their potential because they shut people off from giving them feedback. Without feedback, you won’t change and without change, you won’t grow.

Trust is needed for growth. People with trust issues have growth issues. The key is to have well-defined parameters about who you allow to give you feedback, and then when those types of people give you feedback, it’s up to you to not be defensive.

2. Listen
It is so hard for people to hear someone else criticize them that they have natural defense mechanisms that kick in to defend their egos. People will interrupt, argue, justify and deny the feedback. Listening is a skill. Think of the last time someone took the time to give you constructive feedback on any area of your life. How did you react?
Here is how to react to feedback – after someone takes the time to give you constructive feedback respond with “let me make sure I’m hearing you right”, then repeat back to them the feedback they gave you, and then say “is there anything else that I’m missing?”. Then if they say “no”, you reply with “tell me more…where did this come from? Can you give me a specific example of when I did this?”

When you seek to understand before being understood, you will reach the next level of being an effective communicator and leader.

3. Give Constructive Feedback with Love
Giving constructive feedback to the people you care about is one of the best services you can provide a friend. If you know that someone is doing something that is damaging their reputation, business, friendships, relationships and life and you don’t share the feedback with them, it is selfish and wrong. The key to giving constructive feedback is to give it with love.

Ken Blanchard discusses in his book The One Minute Manager how to give constructive feedback. What Dr Blanchard suggests is that you always give feedback one-on-one and never in a group setting. When giving feedback, always apply the “sandwich technique”.

The Sandwich Technique:
Step 1. Praise them for what they are doing right and why you respect them.
Step 2. Provide the constructive feedback.
Step 3. Build them up and encourage them with possible solutions for improvement.

When you care enough about other people to take the time to provide them constructive feedback with love, they will tend to return the favor and feel comfortable with discussing constructive feedback that might be potentially relationship-damaging topics with you.

True relationships are forged from the real topics of life. Everyone has dozens of “surface” friends. Not everyone has people in their life who care about them enough to take the time to give them constructive feedback. The next time someone in your inner circle of peers gives you constructive feedback, thank them for it, listen and see how you can apply it to your life.

4 Responses to “Feedback”

  1. Kitty Barrow Says:

    Speaking as someone who has the blessing of receiving feedback on a regular basis. I can attest that you are a master at giving constructive feedback especially when it’s a topic that hurts to hear.

  2. I like the “sandwich technique” idea. It makes the idea of swallowing criticism a lot easier 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: