How Well Do You Receive Feedback? What Dancing With The Stars Has to Teach Us

When someone is giving you feedback, what are you telling yourself? How are you receiving it? Being open to feedback, being open to learning for the next time, is part of being accountable.

How many of you watch Dancing with the Stars? People that know me know that I enjoy watching the show, and even attended a live taping in LA last year! If you aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is that celebrities are paired with professional dancers and taught to dance, most with little or no prior dancing experience. One of the thrills of the show is seeing people perform out of their comfort zone in front of millions of people after just a few weeks of training with their professional dance partner.

Even if you don’t watch the show, you may remember a few years ago when Emmitt Smith won first place. Right out of the shoot Emmitt was a surprisingly good dancer for a big, retired NFL guy. At one point he was asked, “Emmitt, we’re kind of surprised how well you’re doing. Why do you think you’re such a good dancer?” Emmitt’s response was similar to what other athletes and Olympic gold-metalists on the show have said. His reply was, “I’m used to being coached.”

I’d say that’s probably a good skill to have, wouldn’t you?! It’s important to be able to listen, adapt, and learn from someone who knows more than we do on a certain subject.

A participant in one of my Building A Team That Has Accountability workshops recently told a story about a guy he used to work with; let’s call him Bob. Bob’s manager gave him some corrective feedback, but did it in a public setting: obviously not the best idea. Shortly after this happened Bob was rehashing the situation and how the manager handled giving the feedback. Now the feedback was valid and something that Bob needed to hear. However, Bob was a victim of his manager’s style and his entire postmortem focused outward on how the manager needed to change how he gave feedback, rather than focusing inward on what could learn from the feedback and what he could do differently going forward.

We often do this. We spin on why feedback isn’t valid, rather than learning from it. They didn’t say it right, or their tone of voice wasn’t right. . .We focus on changing others rather than ourselves. (And as Dr. Phil says, “How’s the working for you?!”)

Since being able to select the valuable parts of feedback and grow from it is an accountability skill important to our success, for more tips on using feedback to develop in your career, click here.

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