I coin a lot of words and phrases related to feedback. Usually, these are complete nonsense. But sometimes the framework of this good game we play and judge offers a phrase with usefulness beyond rules enforcement. This is true of protection, a keyword that prevents something from being blocked, targeted, dealt damage, or enchanted [by a quality].
In this blog’s context, we can understand “protection from feedback” to be a characteristic that makes an individual incredibly difficult to interact with via feedback. In fact, we often think of feedback as being a targeted, purposeful activity. You can see how your target having protection can make that difficult. Protection from feedback is a readily grokkable shorthand when someone has difficulty listening to and internalizing feedback. When you’re giving feedback and realize you’ve encountered this particular roadblock, the important thing is to figure out if there are ways around it. So what are your options when someone has protection from feedback?
Wait out the turn.
People process feedback differently. Some people prefer to receive feedback immediately in the heat of the moment, while others like to get a full briefing at the end of the day or after the tournament. If someone responds to your attempt to give feedback with “I don’t want to talk about this right now,” consider that this protection from feedback might last only until the end of the tournament. You may find your subject much more receptive to your feedback at a different time.
However, beware of the possible danger. Feedback can lose effectiveness if you wait too long due to the fickle nature of human memory. Also consider that protection from feedback could be a tactic to delay the feedback indefinitely and potentially forever. Feedback is a dialogue. While your subject request that you wait, you should feel comfortable approaching such a situation as a negotiation.
When you’re facing down a White Knight, you can’t destroy it with Terror, Murder, or Fatal Push. Visara the Dreadful and Avatar of Woe can’t touch it with their deadly gazes. No Sip of Hemlocks or Spiteful Blows. But one small Shock and it dies. In Magic, when we are faced with something with protection, we look for things that fall outside the scope of the protection for answers.
The next time you encounter someone who appears to have protection from feedback, consider that they might have protection from your feedback, and look for other people to help you. This could be because of personality differences; we’re human and sometimes we just don’t like certain people and that’s okay.
“Maybe I’m not the correct person to deliver this feedback” is a valid thing for you to say. This also highlights the value of doing two-on-one style feedback. While you won’t necessarily play good cop/bad cop, having two perspectives and voices can help get the message through to your subject.
Try targeting yourself.
Even when you ask for feedback directly from others around you, you’re not guaranteed to get results. Someone telling you that you have protection from feedback is…feedback. The most difficult hurdle here may be your lack of awareness that you are projecting this aura. If you find that you don’t get much feedback, take a long look at yourself and consider whether you have protection from feedback. Reach out to people you trust and open a dialogue about this, but keep in mind that if there’s a history of protection, you may have to take extra steps to get them to target you.