The ability to receive feedback well is a desirable trait in the workplace. Sheryl Sandberg cites it as the number one skill she looks for in a new hire as it indicates they can learn and grow quickly.
We’re all wired to want feedback to help us grow – and yet we’re also wired to feel threatened when we receive some. In her podcast series How’s Work?, psychotherapist Esther Perel explains that as humans we are constantly straddling two fundamental needs: the need for growth and adventure, and the need for security and stability.
The good news is that getting comfortable with feedback isn’t a skill you’re either born with or not. It’s more like a muscle that needs to be developed and then kept in good shape through regular use. I teach how to develop this muscle in my online course, The Art of Receiving Feedback.
When asked about the biggest lesson she’s learnt as a leader, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern – arguably one of the most admired leaders of 2020 – replied, “I’ve learnt how to filter things; how to take on board criticism and listen to it when I needed to, or otherwise say, ‘Well, actually that person’s just coming from a very different perspective.’”