Receiving Feedback with a Growth Mindset


This week I had the pleasure of listening to Dan Gottleib’s Voices in The Family radio hour on “Mindfulness at Work”. His guests were a mix: Jane Shure PhD : Executive Coach and Co-founder of the Resilience Group , Sue Schick: CEO of United Healthcare Delaware and Pennsylvania and Dan Goleman: author of Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence.

The Mindfulness at Work Podcast covered several points namely, how we take feedback at work is as important as giving the feedback. The receiver of the feedback is ultimately in charge of what they let in and how they choose to change. That is alot of power!

Feedback is especially hard to take if we are high achievers- as it seems to come as a negative verdict which can be devastating for the Fixed Mindset says Carol Dweck author of Mindset. It is fascinating to note that half of the population has a Fixed Mindset and the other half a Growth Mindset. With a Fixed Mindset, our inner critic can say for example…”you are not smart enough.” On the contrary, the inner voice of people with Growth Mindsets see’s a challenge as something to persevere.

Here are 5 Ways to Receive Feedback which can foster our Growth Mindsets.
1. Mindfully Receive Feedback
Listen and Receive POSITIVE Feedback by acknowledging it and saying Thankyou! Don’t be afraid give it either! It only takes a minute… to be constructive. Here’s an example. “What I appreciate about you is that you are most intuitive Dan!” then you can add constructive criticism..” and I feel that you can be more effective if…”
2. Know the voice of your inner critic and see what stories it is spinning. The inner critic is not constructive…it cannot give positive feedback. The solution then is to train that Inner Coach- with calm, reasonable and constructive affirmations
3. Change Your Thinking! Focus on Gratefulness with a Gratitude Journal– that takes practice but it trains seeing the positive side of things. Even entire organizations can practice this growth mindset exercise.
4. What you do and say should be consistent. As a leader, your team is watching your every move and monitoring your level of compassion and empathy. Imagine, for every negative feedback which is given it takes 5 positive comments to counter that. Tell your team how they can be more effective but keep it positive.
5. Keep feedback private. On site Feedback in a public way can be shaming. Keep feedback private for all.

Further Reading
Dweck C. 2007) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Ballantine Books.
Goleman, D. (2011) Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, More Than Sound LLC, Northampton MA.
Hanson, R. (2013) Hardwiring Happiness: the New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, Harmony Books, New York, NY.
Heen, S. (2014) Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving feedback Well. Penguin Group, New York, NY.