How To Disagree With Feedback

Here is a brief excerpt from an article by Laurie Ruettimann for Halogen Software’s TalentSpace blog. To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.

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Part of being an adult in the modern workforce is listening to people tell you what you’re doing wrong, even when they’re incorrect. When faced with difficult conversations, most grownups have mastered the art of staring out into space and nodding their heads silently while people fire off a list of complaints that may or may not be true.

While it’s human to disengage when someone is griping about you, it’s not particularly healthy or constructive. There are tried and true ways to disagree with feedback without being disagreeable or rude.

[Here are two.]

Do Nothing.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Sheila Heen and Debbie Goldstein write that the best response to feedback is to do nothing. Our brains are wired to listen to words and figure out if we agree with what’s been said. What if you trained the brain to react differently? The authors suggest that you give yourself time to understand the feedback before you accept or reject it. So, take a walk or simply step out of the conversation and give your mind some space and time to process the feedback that’s been offered.

Thoughtfully Object.

You’re probably not a qualified lawyer and even if you are, most people don’t thoughtfully object to feedback in the heat of the moment. Make sure you follow the first tip and do nothing. However, if you continue to disagree with feedback after you’ve had some time to think, choose your words wisely. You can decline to change your behaviors and still behave in a manner that shows respect for the overall relationship.

If you disagree with feedback, your brain and your heart are strong enough to endure the experience without too much damage.

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My best advice is the simplest advice: Nod, smile and thank them for the opportunity to grow and develop. Then get back to work and do your job with integrity. You’re unstoppable and unflappable if you keep an open mind and your heart is in the right place.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Laurie Ruettimann pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in Human Resources. Her expertise as a Human Resources leader in Fortune 500 organizations allows her to frame the world as it used to be known. Now, as a woman in the thick of the social world, Laurie is a writer and speaker who covers topics on Human Resources, technology and employment. For the Halogen TalentSpace blog, Laurie shares her insights and perspective on how HR professionals can rethink their profession to better support employee productivity and engagement.

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