19 February 2020
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The crying game

When you were quite young, did you ever play a game with your girlfriends where you agreed to tell each other all the things you like, as well as what you don't like about them? Now, I never got into this sort of thing but I knew girls who did and I remember it always ended up in tears.

You see, we are programmed to like the positive things said about us but most people find it so hard to take on board the negative, even if it's asked for. And it is really hard to hear, there's no doubt about that. But feedback – in its positive and negative forms – is the breakfast of champions. It takes hard work and practice to turn constructive criticism into a character building outcome, but when you learn to handle even the brutal truth about yourself, you're in the fast lane of personal growth.

Here are a few tips to help you handle feedback:
  1. Be prepared to listen to what is said to you. If the feedback is caustic and you feel the person giving it has an agenda, quietly walk away.
  2. Try to hold back the tears. If the feedback is being given by a male, a woman in tears often changes the nature of the feedback as the man gets affected by the crying. You then lose a valuable chance to hear things that could help you improve. There's nothing wrong with a good old cry but hold the tears back for important times!
  3. Don't dwell on the negative. Most people giving feedback also give praise with their suggestions for improvement. Carefully listen to the good things as well.
  4. Work on a ‘You’ plan for improvement by finding ways to turn any identified weakness into a strength.
  5. Don't play the lying game with yourself. You see faults in others so don't fool yourself into thinking you haven't got room for improvement.

You're the winner in the feedback game if you learn how to play it well.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


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