Getting the Most Out of Feedback

Management guru Ken Blanchard once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”  But what if the feedback is tough to swallow?

The current issue of Inc. magazine has an excellent article about how to handle tough feedback, entitled “Workplace Feedback: 8 Essential Questions.”  Since dentists receive feedback from patients and staff, it’s important to know how to use this information effectively.

As the Inc. article points out, one of the first steps is to assess if the feedback is an overreaction.  If a reactive patient having a bad day provides a laundry list of unflattering comments, it is normal to feel deflated.  You may wonder if you chose the right profession.  But you have to get beyond the patient’s emotion, past the mad-at-the-world comments to find what rings true.

This is not an excuse to brush aside what someone tells you.  The key is to sift through what was communicated to identify the valid points.

You also have to monitor your own reaction.  How much time do you spend getting defensive or debating each point instead of listening to what is said?  How much time do you take to simply digest the comments?  Too many times a rush judgment is made to react to the source of the feedback instead of paying attention to the content.

If, as Ken Blanchard suggests, feedback is the breakfast of champions, then we cannot rush through the “meal.”  We must give feedback the opportunity to marinate.  Only then can we turn other’s comments into ideas for growth.

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