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Feedback And How To Avoid It!

Personal development isn’t just about training courses. In order to develop their employees managers and colleagues need to give and receive feedback on an ongoing basis. But it’s not always easy. Some people will go to great lengths to avoid hearing feedback of any sort.

We take a look at seven common types of feedback avoidance:

Agreeable: Agreeing with everything is a great way to avoid dealing with feedback. The agreeable employee treats any feedback like it was a summary from the ‘Cosmo Quiz’. Phrases such as “You’re right”, or “That’s spot on, summed me up exactly”, are designed to disarm the person giving feedback, fooling them into believing that you’ll take action. The Agreeable employee will blush slightly at positive feedback, look contrite at more challenging comments, and be out of the feedback session in no time.

Counter attacker: Perfect for the more assertive employee this avoidance tactic requires quick reactions and a list of grudges. As soon as critical comments are made the counter attacker will deflect the criticism at someone else, another department, or circumstances outside his/her control. The accomplished counter-attacker will turn the feedback into a complaint against the person giving the feedback, resulting in an apology rather than a way forward.

The Scribe: The scribe knows that writing things down is the perfect way to ensure that the words go straight from the giver of feedback onto a piece of paper without ever having to enter his/her head for processing or action. The person giving the feedback is likely to feel that their work is done as the scribe always appears serious and studious, but it’s unlikely that the words will ever be read.

Nodding Dog: Perhaps the most accomplished avoider of feedback, the ‘Nodding dog’ will say nothing during feedback sessions, apart from the occasional “Yup”, when absolutely necessary. Through not engaging this person makes it difficult to go anywhere with feedback and hopes that the person giving the feedback will quickly become exhausted and end the session.

Popeye: This person can take any feedback you throw at them without flinching. They live by the motto “I yam what I yam” and see no reason to change. Yes they may want career advancement, salary development and an increasing role, but expect that they’ll get it through tenure and their winning personality. Efforts to give constructive feedback that could help them to achieve rebuffed as attempts to change them which will be resisted at all costs.

The Analyst: The analyst takes feedback seriously, but knows deep down that it’s wrong. They will not only disagree with the feedback they receive but will produce a spreadsheet and associated pivot tables and graphs to prove that it is wrong. Where that approach is not possible they may return with a rebased set of statistics or an alternate angle to view any data from. This does not make giving feedback on soft skills any easier. The analyst firmly believes “If there’s no data, there’s no point in discussing it”.

The Thinker: The thinker is as clever as s/he looks. By carefully deflecting each piece of feedback with a lines such as “That’s interesting, I’d like to reflect on that for a while before I comment”, “Fascinating, I think I need to sleep on that before reacting”, the Thinker can defer dealing with feedback almost indefinitely whilst allowing the person giving the feedback to feel that they’ve passed on an insightful gem that will really make a difference.

If you'd like some help with giving feedback, building better relationships at work, or dealing with difficult people, give us a call.

For more information please contact:

Claudine McClean
T: 01789 734300


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