The goal of effectively receiving and processing feedback is to ensure that the feedback you are given is the feedback you receive. In many cases, the feedback you receive is not the feedback you are given. There are a number of factors that influence and inform the feedback you receive and how you receive it. The key is to look Behind the Feedback. Those insights give you a deeper understanding of how to process the feedback to your benefit.
I developed the Feedback Filtering Funnel as part of a toolkit to process the feedback you receive. The goal of the Feedback Filtering Funnel is to effectively filter and frame feedback through ongoing dialogue to support your goals. Before you engage with this tool, take time to establish what feedback is and does (for you!)
Feedback Filtering Funnel is step 1 of the Feedback Framework which will be covered in a subsequent blog. It provides a mechanism for scrutinizing the three elements of the feedback: yourself as the receiver, the giver as well as the feedback itself.
The assumption here is that most feedback has at least a small nugget of value whether it is obvious, hidden, direct or indirect or at least opens up our thinking to expose other opportunities. We therefore need a process to get to that nugget of value or uncover insights.
The Feedback Filtering Funnel removes the elements that don’t add value and uncover the elements that add value.
When we can effectively filter the ego, emotions and biases we have, others have and those locked up within the feedback itself – we can improve the quality of the feedback.
In the filtering process the receiver shifts to being more open, the giver becomes more precise and the feedback more specifically framed to support you.
Filtering is fundamental to improving the quality of feedback. Begin with these 3 steps:
3. Filter biases (yours and the givers) There are a wide range of biases and stereotypes that factor into the feedback process. One to watch out for as you receive feedback is the confirmation bias. It’s at play when you notice yourself selecting, interpreting and referencing information that confirms your own views. Let’s say you got some feedback that you don’t enjoy from a supervisor that you don’t think likes you. Watch for processing like: “I know she doesn’t like me so I am not surprised that she feels that way!” Instead, you may want to separate feedback from the person. It is possible that someone that you don’t believe likes you can still offer valuable feedback that supports your growth. It’s important that you develop some key filters that you can automatically deploy. One more thing to consider is whether the giver is offering feedback from their individual lens or they are a medium for communicating feedback from an institution or other structure.
Noise, emotions, ego and bias are part of the feedback process, consciously or unconsciously. Get good at noticing them and filtering them out to achieve greater openness as a receiver and better quality feedback.
You need to have processes in place for the feedback you are receiving. Also be aware of the feedback you are not receiving due to “protective hesitation” – others with critical information that can benefit you may not be saying anything for fear of offending, getting in trouble or other personal or professional risks.
When feedback you receive is put through the Feedback Filtering Funnel, it should come out minus the noise, emotions, ego and bias. You should be able to examine the feedback in a purer form to determine its value. This completes step one of the Feedback Framework.
If this seems like a lot to do just to figure out what someone is saying to you, be encouraged. First, the rewards are worth the effort. Second, receiving feedback is a skill that can be learned.
This skill is crucial to enhancing greater self-awareness. With greater competence in receiving feedback you demonstrate maturity, security and receptivity to engage with the toughest forms of feedback and the resilience to work through the associated feelings quickly. You will be better able to process feedback and apply relevant learning to improve what you do and how you do it. This will position you to heighten your leadership skills and improve the impact you can have.
If you develop these innovative and creative thinking and processing skills and apply them to receiving feedback, you could transform even rubbish into something of great value. If you develop this skill, even people who mean to hurt you, could potentially help you. If you don’t develop these skills especially in this context, even people who mean to help you, could potentially hurt you.
Use the Feedback Filtering Funnel to effectively filter feedback and engage in the ongoing dialogue to get to the pure feedback and frame it to support your goals. This takes practice to build competency. However the rate of growth of someone who has a constant source of quality processed feedback produces high levels of success personally and professionally.
Author, Educator, UpSkiller
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