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Exercises for taking feedback and criticism


I'm running a workshop for training our general staff to participate effectively in the appraisal training. I need some exercises or case study for them to practice in taking feedback and criticism non-defensively. Anyone has something to share?

Many thanks.
Alice Ma

2 Responses

  1. Ideas for helping people receive feedback
    hello Alice,

    I assume that you are asking for ideas for how appraisees can receive criticism etc? If so, there are three ideas I can offer.

    (1) This one is more for the training of appraisers (who may of course be included in your appraisee training). Encourage appraisers to model receiving feedback. For example, have them prepare some feedback about themselves as line manager of a particular individual: what they think they have done well, what they plan to do more or less of in the next period and what they would particularly like to get feedback on from their direct report. By taking the lead, it becomes easier for someone to give them feedback, but it also demonstrates an openness to feedback. The intention here is, of course, that the appraiser does actually give their self-feedback when they are appraising each of their staff.

    (2) Within the appraisee training, get them to practise their real self-feedback. With specific examples. And, similarly, help them identify particular areas where they would like feedback. The issue is often not that appraisees get defensive as such, but that they are don’t yet know how to get the feedback they would find really useful from their line manager. It is helpful to give them time to practise taking charge of receiving feedback.

    (3) Ask appraisees to identify when (a)they got feedback that was not helpful , and (b) they received feedback that helped them to improve performance. The aim of this activity is to identify what they themselves can do / have already done to make feedback useful. So, taking an approach from Solution Focused Therapy, pose this question: what did they themselves do differently on the occasions when receiving feedback was useful? You will need to model this first, choosing a real example from your own life, and then get them to work firstly in pairs, and then to flipchart the ideas (not the stories) in small groups.

    I would love to hear what you end up doing, and how it goes.

  2. Change the terminology to lead to a change in behaviour
    Hi Alice,
    If I understand your question correctly, my guidance to you is this: Change and banish the term ‘criticism’! If people think they are going to be criticised then it is perfectly natural and normal for them to react in a defensive way.

    The challenge is then turned on its head. How do the people doing the appraising do it in a way that is non critical whilst still working with the individual to improve on specific areas?

    I wish to be clear, this is not a soft way of appraising, in fact it’s much harder.

    More than happy to talk to you further about this and kick some ideas around to help you. Good luck… Damian


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