Leading Blog






07.29.19

Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)

Feedback

FEEDBACK HAS A LOT OF BAGGAGE associated with it. Feedback is not always well-intentioned and is used to punish, demean, or manipulate. When well-intentioned we don’t always do it right. We dump on people, we’re biased, we miss the overall issues, and present it in a way that doesn’t sound helpful. And we, of course, wanting to be right and accepted don’t see it as the gift that it is.

As a result, you will find people avoiding it altogether—whether on the giving or receiving end of it. Or you will find people trying to take it to a higher lever and state that what we need and really want is attention. Positive attention is the way to go. Build on strengths. But sometimes we need to tame our strengths for our own good, and sometimes we need to manage our weaknesses. And frequently we have no idea unless we are told. We need feedback.

In contrast to the desire of some to dumb down or avoid feedback, authors Tamra Chandler and Laura Grealish have decided to deal with feedback head-on in Feedback (and other dirty words): Why We Fear It, How to Fix It. Done right, feedback is not only a good thing, it is essential to growth and performance. They say we need to do more than tweak our feedback practices, we need to completely rethink the what, how, and why.

They begin by defining feedback as “Clear and specific information that’s sought or extended for the sole intention of helping individuals or groups improve, grow, or advance.” This forms the basis for their Feedback-Fixing Movement.

“Every great feedback experience,” they write, “is anchored in fairness, focus, and frequency.” Fairness is about trust. “When trust and fairness are absent, because either the feedback itself or the Extender [of feedback] seems unfair or biased, the Receiver retreats into protection mode.” We generally associate feedback with criticism because that’s sadly the only time most people speak up.

Focus is about making the feedback specific, targeted, and brief.” When we dump on people, they shut down and the feedback moment is gone. “Dishing out bite-sized portions of off-the-cuff gratitude, recognition, direction, or coaching can move the performance needle much more effectively than hours of training sessions, development seminars, or dismal laundry lists of your rights and wrongs from the past year.”

Frequency is the accelerator. “Connecting frequently speaks volumes. It says, ‘I’m paying attention, what you do is important and notable, and you are a priority.’” Informal and spontaneous is the secret to frequency.

To revolutionize feedback, the best thing you can do right now—especially as a leader—is to become a Seeker of feedback. That is, become a person who proactively requests feedback from others with the intention of self-development or growth. It helps you in a couple of ways. First, you are the example you need to be, and second, to be a seeker lowers the fear associated with feedback because you choose the time and place, the issue and the extender of feedback.

The authors offer the Seeker several tips to effective feedback seeking. First, ask in advance, giving the Extender(s) time to think. (Asking more than one person provides you with a better picture of what is actually happening.) Give them permission to be candid with you. They are most likely as uncomfortable with it as you are. Third, ask them to start noticing based on the nature of the feedback you are requesting. And finally, make the choice to do something with what you have learned.

I found the chart below helpful in wrapping your mind around the proper way to deliver feedback. The considerations are many but going through the chart will help you not only form the conversation but get a handle on your intention for giving feedback in the first place.

Feedback Connect Model

Feedback (and other dirty words) is full of helpful insights and constructive interpretations of the scientific studies and data regarding the issue of feedback. It is a comprehensive look at feedback and well worth reviewing in terms of both delivering and receiving feedback.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:16 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Human Resources , Personal Development



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