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Why Workplace Feedback Fills Us With Fear (And How To Recover)by Jack Zenger August 2, 2016

feedbackWhich would you prefer? Your boss drops by and tells you how much your contribution to the project is appreciated? Or, your boss passes on to you a suggestion about how your contribution to the project could be even greater?

The fact of the matter is that this question has no simple answer. It depends on the level of confidence or self-assurance you have. It depends on how the feedback is delivered by the giver. It depends on the relationship between the giver and you. Generally, what benefits individuals the most is seldom what pleases them at the moment it is given. Finally, what people say they want to receive is not always reflected in their immediate behavior. The simple fact is that a very large percent of the population dreads feedback.

Why? Fundamentally, fear occurs when we believe there is danger. Our brains are wired to keep us from harm. Our innate instincts alert us to danger by signaling us to fight back, flee or freeze. This inherited trait is helpful in many circumstances, but when it comes to managing feedback—particularly critical or corrective feedback—these reactions can be debilitating.

Those of us who fear feedback can often trace our fear to one or more experiences where corrective feedback from a superior or someone who was in authority over us was delivered poorly. The feedback felt so negative our ego was crushed. Experiences like this generate a great deal of anxiety. From then on, the prospect of getting feedback is deemed a traumatic enough experience it becomes the thing we’d go to any length to avoid. Continued on Forbes.com.



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