Giving feedback is tough. Receiving feedback is even tougher, especially when the content delivered is off-base, unfair, or lacking direction. Doug Stone and Sheila Heen blend the art and science of receiving feedback in their book Thanks For The Feedback. For the receivers out there, Stone and Heen offer some things to keep in mind as you translate what you might be hearing:

Feedback is really three different things, with different purposes:

Appreciation – motivates and encourages.

Coaching – helps increase knowledge, skill, capability, growth, or raises feelings in the relationship.

Evaluation – tells you where you stand, aligns expectations, and informs decision making. We need all three, but often talk at cross-purposes.

Evaluation is the loudest and can drown out the other two. (And all coaching includes a bit of evaluation.)

Be thoughtful about what you need and what you’re being offered, and get aligned.

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