Do You Ask For Feedback Or Avoid Them?

Jul 28, 2017 4 Min Read
Why is Giving Feedback Important?

As a person, admitting one’s mistakes and accepting one’s failures are not habits we fully embrace. Our minds do not prepare us for our own defeat no matter how much we foresee it coming; so does the feedback that comes with it. Contrary to the popular concept of learning from your own shortcomings, we still perceive feedback as a threat and fear the opinion of others.

Does your heart sink when your boss mentions “performance review”? How do you take it when your colleague criticises your work? If it is very crucial, why don’t people give and receive feedback more often?

According to Daniel Kahneman, “True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes”. In turn, giving and receiving feedback lead to greater employee engagement in your day-to-day operations, which helps in keeping their morale high and well-integrated.
Listen to its corresponding podcast:Raise Your Game: The Art Of Giving And Receiving Feedback
Let’s take a look at how we can encourage feedback exchange in our respective organisations:

Giving constructive feedback

Constructive feedback needs to be learned and mastered by those at the giving end. It needs to be tailored to the receivers’ concerns, leading them towards positive transformation.

Instead of merely saying “well done”, you may choose to be more specific and construct a more useful statement such as: “You have shown relentless effort in ensuring that the workflow process is consistent and adaptable by others”.

Instead of saying: “You should not have done that”, you may use a constructive sentence like: “Your attempt is brave and admirable. Although it may not be suitable given the current situation, it can certainly be applied in other sessions”.

There are also other things that we can observe or do to achieve the desired outcome. Among them are:

1. Choose a suitable time

While public recognition is appreciated, public scrutiny is not. Provide any negative feedback privately and only to the targeted person. If you are overwhelmed with emotions such as anger or frustration, cool it off before you face the individual to provide any feedback. You should avoid announcing feedback that is unrelated to others in a public setting such as group meeting, group chats or office notice board.

2. State what you observed

Be specific when delivering your feedback by stating your thoughts based on concrete evidence and not based on rumours or biased opinions.

Explain the impact of a behaviour on you, the team, the client or the organisation so that the recipient understands how he or she has influenced a situation.

3. Give suggestion for improvement

You should make your receiver feel that you genuinely care and want to help the person grow. Make sure you provide actionable suggestions and be open to receiving and considering alternate views from your recipient.

How to receive feedback in the best way possible

At times, it is difficult for us to feel like we are wrong, let alone hearing it from others. Although it is easier to take feedback personally, we should strive to perceive all feedback as a learning opportunity. It is up to us at the receiving end to listen, receive and react to feedback in a non-defensive way.

1. Be open
With a positive mindset, be prepared to receive new ideas and learn to control your emotions. Don’t forget to practise an appropriate body language that encourages the other person to talk.
2. Be reflective
Give an indication that you understand what is being said and ask for examples if you require the person to illustrate the feedback further. After that, assess the value of the feedback and give a careful consideration on what to do next. If you are having doubts, ask for a second opinion.
This might interest you:Ever Lost Your Cool And Had An Emotional Outburst?
3. Be accountable
Plan and execute the changes that you need to rectify or improve based on the feedback given. Don’t forget to thank the person who took time to give you constructive feedback. Don’t forget to conduct a follow up to discuss your improvement.

Marshall Goldsmith, a renowned American leadership coach emphasised the importance of dealing with hard truths especially for leaders of organisations to refrain from being defensive when receiving feedback from others.

Goldsmith says leaders should always have the courage to ask for input and the humility to admit that one can improve.

Concluding thoughts

When giving or seeking feedback, focus on:

  • Where am I going?
  • How am I going?
  • Where to next?

Remember that feedback is not given about who you are, it’s about what you do and how to do things better. After all, the best way to prepare for receiving feedback is, in fact, asking for feedback regularly. When done with a thoughtful consideration, feedback is one of the most powerful tools for personal growth and career development.

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Tags: Emerging Leadership

Sheera has a knack for different languages and aims to cultivate life-long learning in others.

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