But if we did, it would take a lot to speak up in a useful way. It is difficult to be a generous skeptic. Not only do we have to be clear and vulnerable and actionable, but we cross a social boundary when we speak up. Our feedback might be rejected, or we might be scolded, or made to feel dumb.
When we give constructive feedback there is always the risk that we will get our hopes up that something will improve, only to see it revert to the status quo.
So, most of the time, we don’t bother.
But when someone care enough (about you, about the opportunity, about the work) to gives your feedback, the ball is in your court.
You can react to the feedback by taking it as an attack, defending and deflecting blame, pointing fingers back at the person giving feedback, or pointing fingers to the policy or your boss. Then you have just told me that you don’t care enough to receive the feedback in a useful way.
One other option to react to the feedback: You can care even more than I do. You can not only be open to the constructive feedback, but you can savor it, chew it over, amplify it.
You can delight in the fact that someone cares enough to speak up, and dance with their insight and contribution.
We all need people who will give us feedback. That is how we improve.
“Thank you for the feedback. Thank you for caring enough to take time and tell me what you see and how you feel. I appreciate that.”
We give feedback because we care. The opposite of that would be to keep quiet, move along, not give feedback and never come back. When we do that, is when we have disengaged, we don’t care anymore.