Responding to Challenge

1 — April — 2021
Lego people

Challenge is good, it's how we improve ourselves and the different cultures we're part of. But how we respond when we're challenged plays a vital part in creating a safe environment for everyone.

There are five steps to responding to feedback when you receive it:

1. Focus on the incident or situation in question.

• This isn’t the moment to provide evidence to demonstrate how your experiences, knowledge or expertise makes the feedback invalid. Instead think about:

o What it is you have said or done

o How it was received by the person raising concerns

o How you respond to the person raising concerns

2. Think about the context you are living, working, or socialising in.

• We are surrounded by misinformation, particularly about trans people, people of colour, and women. It is difficult to be immune to those messages and not be affected by them. It is likely that the world you operate in may well have shaped your thinking and perceptions, even if you don’t realise it at the time.

3. Be calm and adult in response to the feedback.

• You may feel defensive and attacked and want to quickly demonstrate why the feedback is incorrect. Pause and instead:

o Apologise

o Ask if the person is willing and able to help you understand where things have gone wrong.

o If they’re not able, make a commitment to seek information from elsewhere.

4. Listen carefully to what the person has to say.

• Don’t interrupt even if you are uncomfortable hearing what is being said. Don’t try and speed up the conversation, or wrap it up. Let the person say what they need to say.

5. Thank the person for telling you about their concerns.

• Let them know what you’ll be doing next, even if that is taking some time to think. Demonstrate something will come of the intervention.