How to Process and Use Feedback by Christopher Wesley
I like to think I’m thick skinned. If someone comes to me with a comment or critique I would like to think I could take it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Receiving feedback is hard. It’s something we crave and it’s something we fear. Without feedback you won’t know if you are heading in the right direction. In order to receive, and use feedback effectively you need to:
REMEMBER NOT ALL FEEDBACK IS NEGATIVE
The knee jerk reaction to feedback is to throw up a defense. While some feedback is criticism there is plenty that’s meant to affirm what you are doing.
Most times people will come to you wanting to see you and your ministry grow. If you constantly shoot that down then people will see you as close-minded.
LISTEN TO THE WHOLE STORY
The reason people will give you feedback is because they want to be heard. When you listen you give them that platform and affirm their voice.
Listening doesn’t mean you have to agree. In fact most people will just appreciate getting the opportunity to speak to you.
AFFIRM AND THANK THEM
No matter the feedback there will always be tension. By affirming someone for sharing, no matter the context, diffuses any tension. When you affirm you communicate, “I’m open to your opinion.”
DON’T OVER PROMISE FOLLOW UP
When people share with you feedback they are probably thinking, “What’s he going to do with it?” If you are people pleaser like me you’ll say anything to get them on your side.
Fight the urge to please people and just promise them that you’ll continue to process what they’ve shared. It might not give them the immediate response they desire; however, it will communicate that you are taking them seriously.
BOUNCE IT OFF OF OTHERS
Do not process feedback on your own. Bring a comment or critique to a coworker or trusted minister. Allow them to give you insight and share a perspective you might not see. This will help you process what’s been said and decide whether or not it’s truly helpful.
You and I need feedback to grow as leaders. There will be times when we can brush it off and others when we can’t let go. Prepare for feedback by having a plan. In the end you’ll know what to use so that you can continue to improve your ministry.