Accepting Feedback

Published on June 1, 2012


Look at the person. In a pleasant voice tone say okay.  Don’t argue!

by:  Kelly Witt, National Clinician

     Throughout our life we are given feedback.  That feedback may be in the form of correction, an instruction, or how a situation can be handled differently.

Most of the time, assessors are trying to help the referee improve his or her game.  The feedback should not be taken personally.  In fact, referees may not always agree with the feedback but there are some essential skills that are important to utilize during the interaction.  Though the feedback that is given may not be something that would help you personally; it is important that it is accepted respectfully.  This means, you continue to look at the person, in a pleasant voice tone, say okay and don’t argue.  Demonstrating the ability to accept feedback will take you much further than dismissing the feedback in front of the assessor.  Continue to be open to what is being said.  Nod your head and continue to keep the eye contact.  Assessors have a tremendous amount of experience at all levels of the game.  Their willingness to share with the referee should almost be viewed as a privilege and the comments should be taken as constructive and used in the future.  Even a small change in behavior will make a person a better official.

When everything has been said, you may need to schedule another meeting to discuss the criticisms that you disagreed with.  It is important to keep all emotions under control.  Scheduling the later meeting will allow both of you some time to rethink the discussion so that both of you can continue the respectful conversation. Also, he stress of the game is in the past and the referee can accept things more objectively than defensively.  Just after a game, it may be more likely to be defensive to support a decision or non-decision that may have had an adverse impact on the game.   If you don’t feel like you are being heard then, you need to say okay and move on.  There maybe a time later on in your life where that feedback may be helpful.  Remember, everyone can learn from someone else and their experiences.

No matter how the discussion went it is important to thank the assessor for his or her time.  Keep positive.  That is a lasting impression.



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