What’s your feedback trigger?

I've been reading Thanks for the Feedback by Stone and Heen based on a recommendation from a colleague.  What a great book!  The authors also wrote the NY Times bestseller Difficult Conversations. Both books are well written and combine practical examples with solid research.  This latest book also offers specific ways to receive feedback with a learning mindset.

One way to be more open during feedback is to recognize when you are triggered. 

Stone and Heen categorize triggers into three broad types:

• Truth triggers – we view the feedback as wrong, unfair or unhelpful.  This leads us to react defensively or completely reject the information.
• Relationship triggers – we question the person giving the feedback or the relationship itself.  In this case, we lose faith in the relationship or view the giver as less trustworthy.
• Identity triggers – something about the feedback causes us to question ourselves. When this happens, we believe that if the feedback is true than we are a failure or we are unable to see the truth in the feedback without also thinking less of ourselves.

In every case, triggers get in the way of receiving the feedback and moving toward a positive outcome.

Once you identify your most common trigger, you will be in a better position to choose a more creative response.  Begin by getting curious rather that critical with yourself and others.

What's the story that you are making up based on the feedback that you are receiving?

• If you are focused on the veracity of the feedback, you are likely in a truth trigger.
• If you are feeling distrustful or questioning the motives of the other person, you may be in a relationship trigger.
• Finally, if you are feeling embarrassed, you may be in an identity trigger.

I’ll share more about specific strategies for moving beyond a triggered response next time. In the meantime, I'm curious what of this is useful and how you keep a learning mindset when receiving feedback?


Posted: June 16th, 2015 by Nina No Comments