Receiving critical feedback is one of the most difficult aspects of leadership.

For years, I’ve been working to become a better receiver of feedback. Even after hundreds of tough conversations, I still cringe when someone starts sharing a tough message with me.

My heart rate still races. My first impulse is still to defend myself.

I’m convinced that receiving feedback will never be easy, but — with effort — I’ve found that it can become much easier.

My goal with this article is to share what I’ve learned about feedback from years of leadership, countless books I’ve read, several trainings I’ve given on the topic, and numerous tips I’ve gleaned from friends along the way.

In my research, I’ve discovered that three key factors block us from accepting and acting upon feedback. One is biological, and two are psychological.

First, we’ll talk about these three feedback blockers, then we’ll dive into practical tips for how to overcome them.

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