One of the most appealing qualities of someone with a high EQ (emotional intelligence) is their ability to graciously accept poorly packaged feedback. Our ability to manage emotions, especially under attack, is something that few of us are born with. 

No one should be ashamed to admit they are wrong. In other words, they are wiser today than they were yesterday.

Alexander Pope

Here are the steps to take in the moment the feedback is coming at you:

  1. The first thing to do is relax your face as much as possible, keeping a soft smile.
  2. When face to face, turn towards the person completely.
  3. Nod your head and actively listen while they’re speaking.
  4. Only after they’ve finished speaking, repeat back what you heard them say, in as neutral a tone as possible (even if it’s incorrect or poorly packaged).
  5. If you think you can manage to hear more, respond by saying, ‘tell me more’. Repeat first 4 steps until they have fully expressed themselves. 

Just because you listen to feedback doesn’t mean you have to apply it or change anything. Either way, tell the person you’ll consider what they’ve said and come back to them to let them know whether you’ve decided to take the action or not. Here is a must-read article by Justin Bariso, which captures the importance of developing the skill of responding effectively.

Below are examples of 3 well known individuals and how they managed to respond effectively under pressure: 

Elon Musk has to reign in his inner predator if he wants to maintain the support of his investors and consumers. Listen to the first 2 minutes of this audio.

Here’s Lance Armstrong maintaining a Partner response in the midst of aggressive and negative reactions / feedback in a restaurant, and what he did to begin to repair trust.

Watch how Sheryl Sandberg apologises for the Facebook data scandal and takes full responsibility without defending, justifying or excusing the error.

Happy Partnering,