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This is Why People Hate Feedback

If there was a controversial and misunderstood topic/technique at work, that must be feedback.

We all hate it, science also proves that (brain shuts down), yet when I ask, everyone wants it. What's with that phenomenon?


Feedback is hated because it is always about "You should be more like me" (me as a feedback giver).


You don't believe me? Think about some of your feedback; you will notice a fascinating pattern. Whenever you give feedback, it is always in line with your beliefs, values, personality, ethics and what you would do.


We all do this, and it is normal. Unfortunately, the message is always, "You would be better off if you felt, do, or think like me," which is why people push back. Do you know how many times I heard "When I was..." or "If I were you...." or "I remember when I...." If there was one thing you can kill me with, it is people's stories. My brain shuts down immediately when people start, "My husband left me...." or another sob story. If you want to teach me or want me to think or do differently, I need something else from you.


But what is that? How can we do this differently?


Give people your reaction to what they do rather than your advice disguised as feedback.

Tell people, "Look, I fell asleep during your presentation," Instead of saying, "It was boring, and I think you could have or should....."


Say things like, "I really loved you doing ....." or "I don't see how this strategy would solve our problem."


Stating your reaction to what people do is honest, and nobody can argue with, yet it is not an advice or a feedback. When I tell my partner, "What you did make me feel this way..." he has the choice to continue or discontinue that behaviour. I am not telling him not to do it I am just stating how I feel about it. I also use this to give positive feedback when he does well, and guess what happens? He starts doing more of that. Magic!


But you already know that! How? When you stood too close to a person on the bus, the person didn't have to give you feedback all he/she had to do was step away from you. You knew immediately that you stood too close. You learned and responded to the reaction.


Giving people your reaction instead of feedback or advice opens up the conversation, and it doesn't come across as imposing your intellectual, professional, or moral superiority on them. People don't respond to this very well.


Giving people advice is like telling them they are not good enough to figure this out by themselves, so you need to step in.


Feedback, on the other hand, is all about the person giving the feedback, and it always comes from what we want to see in others and is always in line with how we are.


Creating a culture that is feedback-free is my dream workplace. It doesn't mean you don't state the facts in the form of results and reactions. It means you don't get to tell people that they should be more like you.


PS: Ask for feedback today and test this out. The person will make it about themselves and ask you to be a bit more like them. It never fails:-)


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