Sometimes it comes out of the blue, perhaps in a meeting from a senior leader everyone respects: “That is the worst, most thoughtless idea I have ever heard.” Ouch!
Other times it may be in the dreaded performance review: “The input I am getting on you is that you are manipulative and don’t care about others.” Whoa!
Whether you think the source of the “FeedSmack” is credible or not, it is still a jarring experience. It reminds me of the book “Thanks for the Feedback (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and frankly, you’re not in the mood)” which you can learn more about here.
What to do when you have been “FeedSmacked?”
A recent article in Harvard Business Review explains that our reaction to this especially harsh feedback often triggers negative feelings on our part because we all have a need for “safety” (e.g., we may fear getting fired) and for “self-worth.” The critical feedback triggers concern in both of these areas of need.
The article suggests taking these four C.U.R.E. steps:
*Collect yourself. Don’t over-react. If you have to say anything – such as in a performance review – say that you will take time to think this through. Breathe deep, take a break. Visit with a trusted confidant.
*Understand. Even if you think the feedback is totally off base, try to understand where it is coming from. Ask yourself what cues you might be giving that is giving people the impression that led to this feedback.
*Recover. We all have many strengths – remind yourself of those. And we all have things to work on. If you find some kernels of improvement that you need to make based on the feedback, then great. Keep everything in context.
*Engage. If appropriate, re-engage with the person who gave you the feedback and acknowledge what you heard and what you plan to do about it.
Using the C.U.R.E. process won’t make FeedSmack go away, but it will definitely help you build your resilience and your ability to bounce back, as well as learn, from these uncomfortable situations.
*Grenny, J. “How to Be Resilient in the Face of Harsh Criticism,” Harvard Business Review, June 17, 2019.