Taking Feedback Well

“Truth —more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality— is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”

Ray Dalio cites this as his most fundamental belief in his book Principles.

We understand reality better when we get feedback.

In our work and our lives, if we’re lucky, we have people who will tell us what we are doing wrong and how to correct it.

A trait common among high performers: they take feedback well.

Our natural reaction when we hear feedback is to argue. 

This reaction is a way of preserving our ego. 

If we can find fault in what they are saying, we won’t have to adjust our picture of reality.

But this is the wrong reaction.

First, this deters people from giving you feedback in the future. That hurts your learning.

Second, they see you as uncoachable and obstinate, which will hurt your reputation.

The right way to take feedback is to act like a third-party observer. 

Be curious. Ask questions about specific points, or for elaboration. Listen well. Repeat things back to them so they know they’re being heard.

There is always something to learn from feedback, even if it’s poor.

The highest performers know that feedback is critical to improvement, and work hard on taking feedback well.