How to Handle Unsolicited Feedback

By Drew Stevens, Ph.D.

FeedbackGrowing up as a teen I had a very influential mentor in my life – Box James. Coach offered me encouragement and challenged me when needed. I greatly honored the feedback he offered as well as the way in which he altered my life. Yet the feedback offered was something I requested.

In the last several weeks I am bewildered but the amount of feedback in my email inbox. These have included items related to ideas for articles, vocabulary in presentations as well as image in a video. What is most fascinating- I never asked for it! It is amazing how often individuals feel the need to provide feedback especially when it is unsolicited.

The reason why others provide unsolicited feedback is:

  1. They enjoy finding fault in others to make themselves appear more superior
  2. These people are deeply opinionated
  3. They are cowards since it is much easier to provide feedback hiding behind a monitor and keyboard rather than be direct

It might appear that I do not believe in feedback – untrue! Yet I believe that feedback must come when requested and more importantly from those you respect. The best feedback is from mentors or coaches that you hire or have aided you in the past. When I seek feedback I do so from the following:

  1. Private Coaching – Research any successful business professional and he/she will inform you of the aid of their private coach. Business professionals are similar to athletes where they must practice prior to get better. One on one coaching is a terrific alternative to maintaining privacy and seeking to improve methods in a very concentrated format. However the student seeks this type of advice.
  2. Mastermind Groups – Started more formally from Napoleon Hill’s work “Think and Grow Rich” these intimate peer groups seek to offer candid feedback to aid with business improvement. Items for discussion include financial reports, accountability, and presentation and communication style among many other self-improvement areas. These groups are typically brutally honest in providing the self-mastery sought.
  3. Family and Peers – No other individuals can provide a thorough and intimate analysis then friends and family. While there may be concerns about hurt feelings, intimate friends desire the best for those seeking improvement.

The following list does not denote exclusivity however it does offer the initial phases to glean the best feedback for self – improvement. Yet feedback also requires that you understand the following 1) you will improve each day, as life is an educational playground. There are challenges to overcome so each day becomes a new life lesson. And 2) look at solicited feedback as guides for success. Too many seek perfection and it is not possible. Strive for success so that you can minimize your stress of working towards perfection.

Realize as I when you obtain unsolicited feedback you have two options 1) combat or 2) refrain. Opt for the latter. Illustrate your resolve by ignoring unsolicited feedback. This illustrates confidence in yourself, conviction in your beliefs and mastery of you!

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