Whenever I run a program there are always aspects of the teaching that leap out to catch my attention. A lot of that has to do with the group that is going through the program and how they respond to the experience.
I just finished running Deeper and Emotional Intelligence and both programs have a strong focus on how to respond to being emotionally triggered. Responding in a healthy manner to being emotionally triggered is a big part of what constitutes emotional intelligence and an essential skill in building healthy relationships both personally and professionally.
So; if participants are going to learn how to respond in a healthy way to being triggered they have to have the experience of being triggered. Now, there is not always a lot to be done to trigger someone coming into a program because they are already feeling some anxiety about what they will learn about themselves in a personal development program. It is that kind of anxiety that can keep people away from attending these programs. Those that do attend are willing to face that anxiety for the sake of creating some meaningful change in their lives. In this way their courage is stronger than their fear.
One of the important ways that people are triggered in these programs is by the use of feedback. Honest feedback is actually a very important leadership skill. In a corporate setting it is often called constructive criticism and is meant to be instructive of how a person can improve their performance. For the average individual, this kind of feedback is difficult to receive and can really trigger them emotionally. The reason for this is that we all have core Shadow beliefs that send a clear message that we do not have value or that we are not good enough. In those moments that we receive feedback often we feel we are being judged and measured in our personal value.
Here are some important things to remember whether you are giving feedback or receiving feedback
- Be clear about your intention in the feedback.
Feedback is to support learning. It is not to download your personal judgments of a person.
- Speak Your Truth in Love
It is important to speak your truth to people. Your self respect is dependent on whether you speak your truth. The second part of this saying is focused on your delivery. Your honesty will not be heard if your delivery is filled with anger or judgment.
If your feedback has emotion attached to it, it is a projection. If there is no emotion, then it is an observation. A projection is a judgment that we have of ourselves that we see in other people and so we project it on them. It is difficult and painful to look at the judgments we have of ourselves, so, we see them more clearly in others. In this way we serve as mirrors for one another.
There is nothing wrong with sharing projections as long as we can own that what we share is also about us.
- First and foremost feedback is information to help you grow.
The challenge is not to take it personally. The feedback you receive is information about how you are viewed. Separate yourself from the feedback you receive. View it as information to support you. It is not about you being good or bad. It is just information.
- If I receive similar feedback from a number of people.
I need to consider it as valid and worth investigating. It represents an opportunity to make healthy changes. You can always check out the feedback you receive by asking if others concur. If not, it may just be their ‘stuff’. If a majority of your peers agree, chances are it is important for you to look at.
- Consider the source of the feedback.
Projection: I understand clearly that some of the feedback comes from the person’s fears, insecurities and self judgments. Something about me reminds them of their own issues. This helps me to be objective about their feedback, especially if the feedback is unique to them.
As a leader it is important to both give and receive feedback. It is an important tool for growth.