Blogs by InnovatorsBox®


Giving and receiving feedback is hard. Despite good intentions, we can hurt others and feel discouraged by others. Words are powerful.

I’ve experienced this myself—and continue to do so. While I love collecting feedback as a way to help me improve, I’ve also had “moments” when feedback makes me feel attacked or hugely misunderstood. I intellectually know I shouldn’t take it personally, and focus on the objective learning opportunity. But I always wonder how we can be more graceful in the way we give and receive feedback.

Here are two points that I go back to each time I need to rethink the art of feedback exchange:

1. Perspective:

See things from the other person’s perspective before reacting.

As my friend says, “commenting is easier than creating.” We often say things without considering what the person on the other end may be going through.

Before we send that aggressive email demanding to know why our colleague was late to a meeting or missed a deadline, what if we, instead, checked in to see if everything is ok?

When we come from the assumption “I know this person has good intentions” our ability to consistently consider other perspectives opens up.

2. Intention:

Acknowledge that our reaction is rooted in our lens, not theirs. Ask if your intention to share is selfish or selfless.

I explored this scenario after I became angry with an event host. I felt that the way he was organizing the community event was top-down driven, instead of community-driven.

A group of us connected after the event to discuss our concerns. We realized our anger was the result of the fact that we care deeply about authentic community building. We judged our host harshly based on past experiences that had nothing to do with him, and failed to recognize that his intentions were in a good place.

This experience taught me how important it is to seek to understand the full picture before I share my opinions—how would sharing this help (selfless) versus letting me feel heard (selfish)?

As Kim Scott said in her book Radical Candor, “The way you ask for criticism and react when you get it goes a long way toward building trust – or destroying it.”

With love,

Founder & CEO, InnovatorsBox

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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