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A Gracious Response to Criticism

Personal Check In: I'm in my favorite time of year - facilitation season! Last week, this week, and in two weeks I get to be in person with women philanthropists, Black mama leaders, and environmental graduate students. We dance during breaks, we cry during soulful sharing, and we get things DONE. What a blessing to do this work.

This week, I want to share an email I wrote (that you are very welcome to use as swipe copy!) in response to criticism I received about a Soil and Shadow project.

"Shadow" is in the name of my firm because I so deeply believe in seeking growth edges and proactively expanding one's capacity for discomfort as primary leadership development endeavors. Being receptive to feedback is right in there!

And - the ability to integrate feedback is vital.

I've learned over the years that my optimal feedback integration environment includes:

  1. Believing in the best intentions of the person giving the feedback. This includes having an actual relationship with the person giving the feedback, if possible.

  2. Creating a container for discussing the feedback that allows for questions, reflection, and engagement.

I will ask for these conditions whenever possible. In the email I sent below, I tried to do just that - I hope the language is useful for you.

"Your feedback below was forwarded to us, and thank you for offering it. 

I did attempt to communicate a tremendous amount of nuance. I know there are places I can learn about increasingly clearer ways to articulate my intentions.

Part of my personal practice is to engage feedback like this voice-to-voice rather than electronically. It helps me connect, experience our mutual positive intentions, protect curiosity, and build trust. 

If you’d like to jump on a brief phone call, I’m happy to do so. I have a 2 and a 5 year old so it might be a bit chaotic, but I’ll be present! :)

If your feedback feels complete: I trust that you’ll hold me with grace as I experiment with ways to translate complex topics."


If you'd like to learn more about giving feedback in ways that create belonging, I'd love to speak with you about our Giving, Receiving, and Integrating Feedback Training - reach out and let me know if you'd like to discuss.


Take care,



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