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#7 The Grieving Cycle Applies to Err-thang


I'm a big fan of understanding processes to put thoughts into perspective. This Grieving Cycle is a go-to model for me.

Grief can be defined as deep sorrow, which this model represents; but I find you can always 'dumb-down' models. For example, I believe I follow a similar process when I find out I've lost something sentimental.

I'm thinking a lot of about people's resistance at the moment, and today realised this model can be used when you give someone critical feedback on their work. I've experienced it myself firsthand too. The scenario is that you've worked really hard on something and are proud of the result, and then someone gives you critique - very likely you'll go through these steps. Shock and Anger to start off with - "yeah but they don't get it", followed by, "hmmm, yeah I guess they're kinda right", followed by, "I probably can improve it", and so on.

There is onus on you too if you're giving feedback. If you feel it's important to give critical feedback, you need to think about it. Does the feedback add any value? Importantly, do you have a proposed solution? (drives me nuts people who talk about problems with no suggestions!). I recommend waiting at least a day to think about your feedback and approach, where sleeping on it may reveal you were in a weird mood when you had the idea, or realised there may be more important things to address. If you believe its important, do it. Trust yourself, especially if your goal is to help someone. If your feedback is to be nasty, then save it and go troll a youtube comment section or something instead.

The message here is to give people time to process your feedback before engaging in conversation about it again, ideally not until they reach the "dialogue and bargaining" stage. It helps to be authentic and empathise with the person through your own experience, which builds vulnerability trust. If someone sees that you care enough to help them, and you deliver it with the best intentions, they're more likely to take it on board. They need to arrive at the solution themselves however, so give them time.