This is a summary of a book summary

The selling point

“It doesn’t matter how much authority or power a feedback giver has; the receivers are in control of what they do and don’t let in, how they make sense of what they’re hearing, and whether they choose to change.”

As humans we want to

  1. learn and improve
  2. be loved and accepted for who we now are

Feedback is required for growth, but in any form it can threaten 2), so receiving it can be challenging.

By becoming skillful receivers and requesters of feedback, we can fully own our learning and growth. Treat feedback as something that we pull towards us, rather than something pushed at us. These skills allow us to leverage even poorly delivered feedback for our growth and development.

The big idea

There are 3 major types of feedback triggers. When we receive feedback that causes a reaction in us, it’s setting off some subset of these triggers. By understanding, naming, and acknowledging them, we remove the primary obstacle of skillfully receiving feedback

Truth triggers

Occurs when we feel the feedback received is off-base, unhelpful, or plain wrong.

Relationship triggers

Set off not by content of feedback, but the messenger.

Identity triggers

Tripped by feedback that undermines something that we hold to be true about ourselves at the core. Causes loss in balance, feeling threatened, and self-doubt.

Insight #1

Shape the feedback you get by asking for the feedback you need

Feedback itself comes in 3 flavours.


  • expressing gratitude
  • recognition of us and actions
  • seen and understood by others


  • someone else’s attempt to help us improve (advice, direction, suggestion, guidance)
  • usually open to this feedback when it’s helping to learn new skill or develop new capacity
  • difficult when given without request


  • score, performance review, assessment
  • align expectations
  • make us feel judged, anxious


  • need appreciation and receive coaching – won’t hear the coaching
  • unsure of where we stand, may need evaluation before coaching
  • if need coaching, evaluation is premature
  • if want coaching, appreciation won’t suffice


Ask for what we need in terms of the 3 types of feedback.

Insight #2

From “wronspotting” to “difference spotting”

wrongspotting: what we typically do with feedback–poke holes in the feedback to view it as wrong

Wrongspotting makes us blind to what’s really behind the feedback by dismissing the entire thing based on the 3 feedback triggers.

Understanding requires clarifying the potential difference between what you heard and what was meant.

Proper response to feedback: “it’s wrong” -> “tell me more”