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Clumsy Feedback Is a Poorly Wrapped Gift - HBR


In a recent blog post on HBR, organizational psychologist Roger Schwartz  provides exceptional advice on embracing negative  feedback in ways that ultimately  enhance   one’s own performance.

He writes, “When you accept a person’s gift [of feedback] – no matter how poorly wrapped – by responding with curiosity and compassion, you are giving a gift in return. You are creating the trust needed to talk about things that really matter and that will lead to better results. This type of gift is priceless.”

Roger advises that we must open these gifts of negative feedback and see beyond poor giftwrapping.

To tickle your curiosity, see the excerpts below.  To fully benefit from Roger’s advice  access the full article.

How do you open gifts rather than turn them down? Try these steps:

  • Notice when people say things that lead you to feel upset, surprised, or threatened. When you feel this way, there is a good chance that you’ve just been given a gift that’s poorly wrapped.
  • Focus on the potential, not the delivery. … Suspend your judgment about the wrapping, and focus on your opportunity for learning.
  • Respond with curiosity… When you respond with curiosity and compassion, you learn things that people were previously unwilling to discuss with you. Discussing these previously undiscussable issues enables you to solve problems that were previously unsolvable.


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