Feedback is a Gift. But Is It One You Want? 

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on feedback as a gift the image shows a hand offering a drawing of a smiley face icon.

Feedback is a gift. But is it though? And is it the gift you wanted?

I was facilitating a team training recently where we discussed this concept and someone came up with an analogy that I had to share.

Imagine feedback as a present. Some presents are a perfect fit, it’s the gift you were looking for and needed and can use immediately. Others leave us questioning their relevance or the sender’s intent causing us to ask ourselves, “Is this gift really for me? Or is it being regifted?

Then there are those pieces of feedback that initially seem confusing or unnecessary, like the gifts you shove away in the back of your closet, only to stumble across them later and realize they are useful after all.

I love thinking about feedback in this way. Not all feedback will resonate immediately, and that’s okay. Just like gifts, not all feedback is meant for us; not all of it will serve our growth journey. By embracing this perspective, we empower ourselves to discern which feedback to cherish, which to discard, and which to store away for future reflection.

So, the next time you receive feedback, consider its resonance and relevance. Is it a perfect fit, a regift, or a hidden gem to rediscover and enjoy at a later point in time?

Do you want to learn how to master the art of delivering feedback? Read more here.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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