1-Sentence-Summary: Thanks For The Feedback will skyrocket your personal growth and success by helping you see the vital role that criticism of all kinds plays in your ability to improve as a person and by teaching you how to receive it well.
Read in: 5 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Would you rather have a boss who yells at you and calls you names or who carefully lets you know what to improve on and how? Of course, you’d prefer a kinder supervisor, but more often than not you have to deal with harsh criticism.
Receiving feedback in this way isn’t fun, but you can learn valuable lessons on how to improve even if someone is shouting at you. And it helps if you’re not a hypocrite and can give others feedback without raising your voice!
Both telling people what they’re doing wrong and hearing from others what you need to improve on is tough. It’s hard to know how sensitive to be in both circumstances, and it’s easy to get offended on either side of the fence.
The benefits of being able to give and receive feedback are clear, though. You know that taking it well gives you a chance to grow, and sharing it well helps you lift others. But how can you do this?
That’s what Douglas Stone’s book Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well is all about. You’ll get to know the three types of criticism, learn how to understand what others tell you to work on, discover why it’s harder for some people to take feedback, and much more!
Here are the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned from this book:
- Start getting better at receiving feedback by learning about its three types and the purpose of each.
- Seek to understand what others tell you to improve on before you react to it.
- Take advantage of feedback by having a growth mindset if you want to reach your full potential.
Let’s dive right in and see how we can use these ideas to get better!
Lesson 1: There are three types of feedback and each has its own purpose.
In college, I got a 14% on one of my Multivariable Calculus exams. Luckily the professor didn’t count one test score each semester, so I still did okay in the class. But I had no idea what I did wrong on that test because I only got a number back.
Effective feedback, in contrast, comes in three types:
- Appreciation, which motivates you.
- Coaching tells you how to improve.
- Evaluation outlines where you’re at right now and where you need to be.
Let’s look at the example of a basketball game to see how each of these works.
A coach would give a pep talk at the beginning of the game to encourage you. They’d give coaching in between plays to show you what to do next. And when the game is over, they’ll evaluate how you did compared to what was expected.
You can use each of these at different times whether you’re checking in on your own performance or rating somebody else’s. If you’re exhausted after working hard, focus on being grateful for how you did rather than looking at how to do better.
And if you don’t get the right kind of feedback at the right time, it’s vital to know how to give feedback to your mentors so they know how to help you the next time!
Lesson 2: Don’t react to criticism too soon, there’s always more to understand than just what people say.
Taking offense is probably your most common response when someone gives you feedback of any kind. The sad truth about this, however, is that you miss an opportunity to learn how to improve when you let your emotions get in the way.
Instead, consider what the other person’s intentions were. Do they really care but they just don’t know how to deliver criticism well? Or maybe they said one thing and there’s another issue behind it that you need to do some digging to discover.
Say someone calls you a reckless driver. You might look at the circumstances and realize that every time they’re with you in the car you’re texting and driving. It will also help to think about what they want you to do differently. Maybe you just need a way to use your phone hands-free!
It’s important to try to see other’s points of view because you can never really see yourself objectively. One 2007 survey proved this when 90% of managers considered their performance to be in the top 10%! That’s impossible!
Remember that what other people think is valuable, even if they don’t share it nicely. That’s because they can see you from the outside, which means they have information about you that you can’t get on your own.
Lesson 3: To reach your full potential you need to take advantage of feedback by developing a growth mindset.
One of the biggest reasons that criticism can be so hard to take is because most people have a fixed mindset about themselves. They label themself as a “good person” or “hard worker.” Anyone who disagrees is just seen as a threat and brushed off.
The truth is that you’re good and bad at different times. But more importantly, you can change and improve anything.
It’s important to recognize, however, that your genetics can make it difficult for you to receive feedback. Some people are naturally happier, so they take feedback well. And just like some kids are more sensitive to loud noises, some people are more sensitive to criticism.
Research confirms this, too. Richard Davidson found that people’s ability to sustain positive feelings and recover from negative ones can differ by up to 3000%! But No matter where you stand on your ability to receive feedback, you can change.
This comes from research done by Carol Dweck, which she shares in her book Mindset. Her findings indicate that you can either see feedback as a challenge and opportunity to learn, or you can see yourself as unchangeable, take offense, and halt your progress.
When you choose the growth mindset, you open up unlimited opportunities, especially when it comes to receiving feedback!
Thanks For The Feedback Review
I thought I was good at receiving criticism until I read Thanks For The Feedback. I’m really grateful for this new outlook and ability to discover and work on my weaknesses! This book is going to change your life if you’re the kind of person that wants to improve but isn’t sure where to start.
Who would I recommend the Thanks For The Feedback summary to?
The married couple in their 30’s that’s trying to figure out how to not take offense so often, the 53-year-old office worker that wants to improve their performance, and anyone who would like to become better at being awesome to the people around them.