Home > Ideas and Philosophy > Providing Hopefully Effective Feedback for the Stubborn

Providing Hopefully Effective Feedback for the Stubborn

September 6, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Some people have the tendency to listen in order to react instead of to understand and respond to a particular exchange of ideas.  This of course assumes that in the discussion the other party is given a chance to state their case fully, since some people just enjoy hearing only themselves speak.  In the course of reflecting what to do in such a situation, the topic of providing hopefully effective feedback to those who are stubborn came into the picture.

There are two kinds of stubborn people: Those that refuse to listen and follow what’s right, and those that know they’re right but are just waiting for the world to see that they’re right.

Providing constructive criticism is a charitable act because you help the person to become better or correct something that he might be doing wrong.  The challenge happens if you’re dealing with someone with a closed mind and thus refuses to listen and be open to the possibility that he’s wrong.  A stronger approach is needed in delivering the feedback this type of person needs to get.

The following are some ideas worth considering:

  • Remember not to preach to the choir.  It’s not effective to be criticizing someone amongst a group of people similarly aggrieved by the same person if such feedback isn’t actually sent to the person concerned or to someone who is in a position to help do something about it.  Talking behind that person’s back also isn’t fair to the person since he wouldn’t have a chance to defend himself.  The feedback needs to be shared and directed to the party that needs to get it.  Keeping your concerns to yourself will only lead you to stew in your own juices instead of giving it the visibility it deserves.
  • The silent majority should speak up.  Call me cynical (actually I am, but that’s another story), but one person complaining will not make a dent – unless that person is influential enough and / or in a position of authority to compel change.  More people providing the same feedback provides greater credibility that the concern is real and serious enough to merit attention; it will show that the matter isn’t an isolated case.  The court of public opinion is a dangerous weapon one can wield for good or evil; in this case you might as well use it for the former case.
  • Provide helpful suggestions as part of the feedback.  It’s not enough to say something is wrong, and explain why something is wrong, if you don’t at least try to provide a solution to it, or ask for the change you need to see to correct the problem.  Provide a practical and actionable approach to the person concerned on how to solve the problem or make the correction needed.
  • Take action for things within your control.  Being vocal about a concern is important otherwise no one will know that a problem exists in the first place.  Actually doing something about it makes the complaint more effective.  For example if you can’t stand the toxicity of someone, then tell him what your concern is and what he ought to do about it, and then avoid that person as much as possible until he makes the correction you want to see.  Sometimes it isn’t enough for the person to do something about the problem; if you’re in a position to help or do something about it within your control then you ought to take action, too.

Only the arrogant will get angry if other people don’t see and do things his way, refuse to acknowledge that someone can have a different opinion, or even accept the remote possibility that he could actually be wrong.  It’s not always possible to be in agreement in all things, but it’s still possible to recognize and respect your differences, which in the end is the more important thing to have.  Besides, if your idea is truly the right and better one, then you will be proven right in the end.

At the end of the day you can only do so much.  No matter how much feedback you give a person, given to him out of a genuine sense of concern for his well-being, he still has the choice to refuse to listen.  Nothing you say or do will ever please or satisfy another party who has made up his mind and simply doesn’t care anymore.  In such a situation, let him be.  Karma can be such a bitch, and sooner or later he will self-destruct as a consequence of his folly.  At least you tried to help him by giving him the feedback he needs to hear, and sometimes this is the best and only thing that you could ever do.

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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