Avoid These Defensive Replies to Feedback | #PeopleSkills #Leadership

You can slip into defensive replies to other’s feedback. Yet the results of being defensive can often hurt you more than the feedback you didn’t like. In truth, it makes others see you as immature, selfish, and unworthy of their time. Your defensiveness reduces other’s ability to respect and trust you. Therefore, it’s important to avoid the following defensive replies to feedback.

Defensive Replies: Image is blue suited arm with red boxing glove at end on the hand.

Avoid These Defensive Replies to Feedback. Image licensed from 123RF.com

Image licensed from 123RF.com

Avoid These Defensive Replies to Feedback

Now as you consider this subject of defensive replies, you may think immediately of the obvious ones like …

  • You’re wrong.

  • I never did that.

  • Just wait until I give you feedback sometime!

However, the less obvious defensive replies are more damaging. Because you don’t see them as defensive while others do, you continue to offend people without knowing it. Clearly, this is a dangerous road to travel.

    Less Clear Defensive Reactions

  1. Patronizing others. When people give you feedback you don’t like and you patronize them in return, this is a defensive reply. It also makes you look arrogant and childish.

  2. Questioning their motives. This too is subtle form of defensiveness. Yet, other’s can see it clearly and it drives them away.

  3. Going neutral instead of owning the feedback. “Wow, you really think this of me?” Be aware, you are not really fooling anyone with this delay. In fact, others think you are saying, “I don’t want to hear this.”

  4. Rewriting their intentions. “Well, I’m sure you don’t mean to say that.” Your reply is so offensive. In fact, it paints you as insecure and arrogant. This is the trouble that defensive replies create.

  5. Distracting focus away from you. “Actually, there are far more important issues to address today.” Truly, people see this as a defensive power play. They wonder how long you are going to dance around the truth.

  6. Giving reasons why. These easons why seem like excuses. In effect, you are hiding and they can see it.

Warning Signs and Next Steps

You are most likely to be defensive when you feel surprised, unprepared, and/or generally insecure. In these moments, it is better to …

  • Silently tell yourself “I’m OK. This is not an attack.”

  • Listen and understand how you impact others.

  • Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

  • Thank them for their feedback.

As long as the feedback is respectful and not verbally abusive, be open to it. Remember, you don’t have to agree with all feedback. Yet, being defensive to it, serves no purpose either.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
23 Defensive Replies That Kill Business Relationships

©2019 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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2 Responses to “Avoid These Defensive Replies to Feedback | #PeopleSkills #Leadership”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    Right on! When we get defensive, we also negate someone else’s experience. When someone gives you feedback, they’re choosing to be brave enough to share the truth they’re experiencing. If there’s even a grain of truth in there for us to learn from, that’s huge. It’s true, sometimes, people’s views are skewed and the feedback can also open the door to new understanding on both sides when we start a conversation with “I hear you” and “thank you.” These are great examples, Kate that will resonate far and wide.


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