Leadership thoughts and strategies, plus upcoming events from Deb Elbaum Coaching
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How do you feel about feedback?

For many of you, it's performance review time. And that means sharing and receiving feedback. Whether you embrace it or ignore it, there's no escaping feedback. So, let's talk about what happens when you get feedback and how to feel a bit more in control of the feedback you receive.

Receiving feedback can have a negative effect on our brain and thinking. Sitting down with our manager and awaiting criticism -- even if sandwiched in between positive affirmations -- has the potential to activate our brains and cause an amygdala hijack. When this happens, our amygdala and limbic system take over, and our higher-level prefrontal cortex mode of thinking -- like good decision making and seeing things from other people's perspectives -- takes a back seat. When we can't access our prefrontal cortex, our brain and thinking have the potential to react emotionally, with thoughts that tend to be either judgmental ("How dare they say that! Do they think they are perfect?") or self-deprecating ("I'm a failure.") 

Feedback is also tricky because, according to speaker and thought leader Sheila Heen, it sits at the intersection of two major human needs: the need to be accepted as we are, and the need to learn and grow. How do we balance these two forces as we live and work with people whose opinions we care about?

Here's where Sheila Heen's advice and strategies are helpful. (For those of you who like videos, here's one of her talks that I enjoyed.) One of her key suggestions that I've been sharing with clients is the phrase "what's one thing....?" Using this phrase is a way to help control and curate the feedback you receive, and to get focused, actionable, relevant information that you can use.

For example, if you deliver a presentation and want feedback, do not wait for someone to offer it and/or do not ask generally, "How was that?"

Instead, think about the information you really want. Do you want to know how the audience seemed to react to your message? Do you want to know how your body language was? 

After you decide what what feedback would be most helpful, ask someone and use the phrase "what's one thing..." For example, "What's one thing I could do with my body language to engage the audience more?" 

Using this phrase puts YOU in the driver's seat of feedback. 
I invite you to try it out and let me know what happens.

In the meantime, w
hat's one thing you wish I would talk more about in my newsletters? (See how I did that?)
Thanks for sharing your feedback,


(photo from Brene Brown's Dare to lead website)

Please Join Me!

For those in the Boston area, here are two events happening tomorrow (which is why my February newsletter is a few days shy of February):

January 30 in Wellesley, MA: Retrain Your Brain for Clear Communication and Leadership (please email me for details)

January 30 in Boston, MA: Women in Bio - Greater Boston: What's YOUR 2020 Vision?

Are you ready to transform your leadership?

Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute phone strategy session to talk about what's really holding you back, and what increased success would look like. Then we can chart a plan to get from here to there.


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