If you want to give better feedback, receive feedback better first.

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Feedback is a skill. Helpful feedback is an art form.

And everyone can learn how to do it.

This week I really screwed up sharing a resource within a community where I have influence and want to expand my influence.

I learned a lot about feedback this week and I want to share a story of what I’ve learned in order to help you.

Mind the gap

I am currently reading the book, Thanks for the Feedback. It saved me this week.

One big idea that has helped me is in the picture below of “the gap map.” What this map shows us is that our intentions are not the same as our behavior and ultimately, the impact our actions have on other people.

Here is how the gap map played out for me — One business circle that I engage in each week leans more conservatively than I do. Whenever politics or race comes up, I can feel myself getting hot. My jaw clenches. My fists might even ball up. These are all physical signs that I am not in the right frame of mind to discuss important topics. I can feel myself getting defensive and wanting to prove my point. That approach does not work.

After one conversation on “cancel culture” and race, I shared this article on “Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People” in a private Facebook group. When I initially shared the article, I received a lengthy post in response to what I put up. One of my friends really took some shots at me.

I thought his response was BS. His feedback hurt. I rifled off an emotion-fueled response. And then I deleted it.

Learn how to receive feedback well

I chose to ignore all the comments where my mind (and emotions) were telling me he was wrong. Instead, I paused and asked myself, “Where is the truth in this feedback?”

I have to receive feedback much better if I want to give feedback more effectively.

Until now, all my learning has been focused on giving feedback. This is the first resource that I have studied on receiving feedback. And it’s immediately helped.

If I truly wanted to have influence in this group and learn from them as well, I needed to find a different approach.

So I thanked my friend for the feedback and I mentioned how I wanted to reshare the post and frame it in a different way. I invited him to share more feedback if he thought I hit the mark this time 🎯

Revise your feedback when necessary

The second post earned a number of positive responses, “Wow, Danny, I really want to read this article now.” And these conservative-leaning guys were reading about a topic important to me and one I thought would help them. A win-win!

The best response I received, “Reading the article and thankful for you Danny. Great perspective. Still have my issues with liberals and BLM but listening to you. We are all learning and growing. Thank you.”

That was truly humbling.

If I hadn’t received his feedback well and changed my approach, this never would have happened.

What I learned from this experience is this:

  • Even when you think you’re right, who cares. Keep your audience in mind and the only thing that matters is framing your message in a way where your identified audience can hear it.
  • When your first approach fails, or even pisses some people off, own it. Humble yourself.
  • Revise your approach if you want to have your feedback land well.
  • If you receive feedback well, you are more likely to give better feedback.

If you enjoyed today’s post, you’ll probably love my new YouTube channel I’m starting up as an experiment. My niche is school leaders, but I don’t talk about school. I focus on leadership. Subscribe if you’d benefit from growing your leadership skills.




Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀

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Daniel Bauer

Daniel Bauer

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀

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