Thanks for the Feedback | Douglas Stone

Summary of: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
By: Douglas Stone


We all need feedback in our lives, whether it comes from a teacher, coach, colleague, or friend. However, not all feedback is created equal, nor is it always easy to digest. Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone offers valuable insights into understanding and leveraging different types of feedback that can lead to personal growth and better results. The book explores three main types of feedback – appreciation, coaching, and evaluation – and provides guidance on when and how to use them effectively. Furthermore, the book delves into the role that our relationships, brain wiring, and personal attitudes have in our receptiveness to feedback, and offers strategies to embrace and utilize it constructively.

Effective Feedback

Getting feedback is essential for growth, but not all feedback is created equal. The book explains that there are three types of feedback – appreciation, coaching, and evaluation – each with its own purpose. Appreciation motivates, coaching helps improve, and evaluation clarifies where one stands and what’s expected. The right type of feedback can make all the difference, and it’s important to seek out the appropriate one for each situation. Whether it’s writing papers or playing basketball, understanding what feedback is needed is crucial for success. So, next time you get feedback, ask yourself, “which type of feedback do I need to improve?” and seek it out accordingly.

Making sense of feedback

Understanding feedback is necessary because it is valuable and often difficult to come by. However, we often misunderstand feedback because we don’t take the time to comprehend its purpose and context. We must keep an open mind and look for key points in the feedback we receive. Sometimes, the comments we get are not precise or consistent with our own perception of ourselves. Therefore, we should try to understand the person’s intentions and views before being defensive. Evaluating feedback requires us to be objective and consider the other person’s perspective. Ultimately, feedback can be an accurate gauge of our abilities and lead to valuable changes in behavior.

Seeing Ourselves Differently

We tend to see ourselves positively, but others may see us differently. We can’t judge our own tone of voice or facial expressions. Additionally, we tend to interpret things about ourselves in a more favorable light than others do. When we receive negative feedback, we may be upset because we view ourselves positively. To address blind spots, we should use feedback and build on that knowledge to improve ourselves.

Criticism and Relationships

Feedback is not always helpful because our relationship with the person giving it affects how we receive it. We are more likely to accept feedback from someone we trust and perceive as sincere. On the other hand, we may reject feedback from individuals with interests in competition or from those we see as less knowledgeable. Such judgments can be counterproductive and hinder our development. Feedback impacts our relationships by threatening our sense of appreciation and freedom. This makes us feel controlled or that we weren’t perfect in the first place. When personal dynamics get mixed up in feedback, it can become impossible to gain any insight. Therefore, it is crucial to separate feedback from relationships and focus on the message itself. Feedback is not about proving someone right or wrong, but about self-improvement and development.

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