It's Not My Job How You Take My Feedback!

Mar 18, 2022
It's Not My Job How You Take My Feedback! Conversations Worth Having Blog

Can you imagine your manager saying this to you after you’ve tried to initiate a conversation worth having? Unfortunately, this is an all-too-familiar situation for many people, especially for one person who attended our Monday Kickstarters session.

Conversations are almost like breathing. Much of the time, we are unaware of the nature of our conversations and their impact on our experience of being in relationships and in the world. It usually takes a significant (emotional) experience for us to step back and reflect on the nature of our conversations.

What can you do when an individual doesn’t or won’t reflect on the interaction, and they seem stuck in critical, even destructive, conversations?

Name It, Flip It, Frame It

This was the challenge our participant was facing. Her manager was defensive, and when she’s tried to engage in productive conversations, he said, “It’s not my job how you take my feedback!”

Questions from the group that helped us arrive at naming the challenge included:

  • Are we missing any other information, such as external circumstances that might be driving his response? He reports, “No, I’m fine.”
  • Are there gender issues? Yes, he has said that “women are emotional, and he deals in facts.”
  • Does he give details when giving feedback? No.
  • Does he take feedback from the team? No.

The issue was: Manager takes no accountability for his actions. The usual channels and fertile ground for creating change were tried to no avail. Undeterred, the participant said, the flip was the manager takes accountability for his actions.

The frame – or vision of what could be – became: My manager creates opportunities for team growth with his comments and feedback. The participant imagined this was a conversation the manager would also want to be in and that the result would be that he’d enjoy his work more because he would experience a team that works well together and with him.

Insight Even in less-than-ideal circumstances, taking the time to tune in by pausing, breathing, and getting curious allowed the participant to take a next step with confidence. In this case, getting curious about the mindset she needed to have so she could shift the tone and direction of the next conversation she had with him.

What Might the Next Conversation Sound Like?

Her first preference was to initiate a one-on-one conversation, inviting a do-over for mutual benefit. For example, “I’d like to revisit that conversation we had yesterday. Feedback is valuable to me and I imagine you are hoping your feedback will create opportunities for growth. When might we do that?” If that doesn’t jive with the manager and the organizational culture, the group suggested asking generative questions in the moment whenever this manager is delivering feedback. Suggestions included:

  1. Can you give some specific, concrete actions you’d like us to take?
  2. What are ways you know efficiency has happened before?
  3. Of what you’ve just shared (the feedback), what’s most important to you?
  4. What new ideas are most important to you?
  5. Tell me about the best experience you’ve had receiving feedback from a manager.

NOTE: One more suggestion: Ask the manager, “When you give us feedback, what are you hoping will happen?” (Assuming he wants people to change behavior or outcomes; grow & learn). Then share, “Did you know that research shows that 70% of feedback that is given to people is never followed through on because of the way the feedback is given? We are committed to excellence and high performance and we believe you are hoping to create opportunities for team growth with your feedback. Would you be willing to help us achieve that by giving us feedback in ways that we can fully hear it, understand it, appreciate it, and act on it?”


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