Take Feedback But Ignore Opinions
June 7, 2020
People always have opinions about others. That is human nature. “He is aggressive.” “He is smart,” “He is self-centered.” “He is not confident.” “I love the way he works.” “He is a difficult person.” For everyone, whatever one may do, there will always be a few who will appreciate it, and there will be a few who will diss it. People make interpretations of others and their actions based on their personal beliefs. In most situations, there is no basis for these views. They are mere judgments, opinions.
In some of my coaching conversations, there is a lot of stress people take about what others feel about them or say about them. My feedback is that they should look beyond the opinions of others, for it means nothing. There is no action one can take or change one can make. It’s impossible to please everyone. They should learn to ignore the opinions of others without getting agitated.
However, before one chooses to overlook external views, it is essential to figure out if it is an opinion or feedback.
Feedback feels like an opinion but is very different. It focusses on a specific action that you can take, and the emphasis is on helping you improve. The tone of the feedback may not always be right. It can sometimes be direct and caustic. But at the core, feedback directs attention to some weakness or deficiency and expects you to take corrective action.
“Pramod, you have been neglecting some important personal matters. You need to start paying attention to those.” This is feedback. It is specific and pointing to something I need to do to improve. Another example, ” You kept interrupting me and others whenever we wanted to say something. Next time can you please allow others to speak.”
Often, we tend to let our egos come in the way, and we tend to dismiss feedback. We should be careful not to become defensive if someone gives us feedback. It is for our improvement. Only people who have your well being in mind take the effort to provide you feedback.
An old African proverb says, “Examine what is said and not who speaks.” When you pay attention to the viewpoint expressed, you will know if its an opinion or feedback. If it’s feedback, take it with grace if you agree with it, take some action. If its an opinion, ignore it.