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How To Avoid Saying I’m Not Being Defensive But...
Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, November 3, 2020


Stop being so defensive!

“Your response leaves me even more frustrated than the initial error!”
That’s the sort of thing you’ll hear if you haven’t developed the art of receiving feedback.

How you respond to feedback can either escalate or de-escalate an issue. As I was writing about this in my latest book Rapid Growth, Done Right, one of my clients emailed me a thread in which he was apoplectic about the response he got from one of his executive peers. “Val, I am not being defensive, but look at his reply.”

Here’s a secret I have learned: Whenever anyone starts a sentence with “I am not being defensive but…” there is a high probability that they are about to get defensive. As I read the thread he forwarded, it was clear that he was in fact being defensive. He went into incredible detail about why the concerns that his peer had raised were not valid, explained why those concerns hadn’t been caught by the CEO who had already approved it, and made factually incorrect statements. Most importantly, he had broken the three rules for receiving feedback:

Pick up the phone. Nothing contentious can be satisfactorily solved via email alone. First, take your emotional temperature. If you are furious, frustrated, annoyed, disappointed or ready to explode, step away from the keyboard and phone. Prepare what you want to say and then pick up the phone.

Show appreciation for their feedback. Say thank you to the person giving feedback for taking the time to do so, even if you don’t like or agree with what they said.

Stay curious. Ask questions so you fully understand why they are giving you the feedback and how it translates across the creative, technical and business impact.

Most feedback fails because the recipient does not receive it, hear it, absorb it, reflect on it and then decide what action is needed as a result. If you fail to go through all of those steps when you receive feedback, the most dangerous thing starts to happen – people stop giving you feedback.

How you give and respond to feedback can either make or break a relationship. I have worked with leaders who harbor grudges over seemingly minor issues, tainting productivity for years to come.

Dedicated to growing your business,


P.S. I hope you enjoyed this week's VAL-uable Insights, sign up here to get them in your inbox each Monday morning: http://valwrightconsulting.com/newsletter-sign-up/

  Val Wright is a recognized leadership and organization expert. Working with Xbox, Microsoft, Amazon and LinkedIn, she has spent the last 20 years partnering with executives to accelerate growth and gain market superiority across the the games, technology, retail and e-commerce industries.

She is know for telling leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Leaders seek her out when they need to accelerate their business results, build organizations, develop leaders and create world-class people strategies. Val is a dynamic speaker who will provoke, inspire and provide immediate value to your audience. She has been quoted in Fast Company, E-commerce times, Yahoo.com, Aol.com, usnews.com, NJ.com, TheNetworkJournal.com and TechNerwsWorld.com.

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