We all receive feedback. It is a fact of life. In the corporate world we focus on formal “FEEDBACK.” However, that in my view is a very limited perspective. You try something and get a suboptimum result…that’s feedback that you need to do things differently, you step onto the road and you hear the squealing of wheels…that’s feedback that you need to be more careful in future. That’s how we learn from our experiences.
Feedback has two aspects: Giving Feedback and Receiving Feedback. It is quite like the Tango, for the feedback to actually result in improved performance both the giver and the receiver of feedback have to dance in step. When this occurs feedback results in a positive upward spiral… better performance next time, improving as a person etc. And when they are out of step even the most useful feedback is rendered useless or counterproductive.
So some ways to increase our ability to give and receive feedback:
- While you are receiving feedback there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Remain calm: when you get called out for something, what is you first instinct? Generally, one would get angry, frustrated, and sad. These emotions are temporary and it is almost never wise to act upon it.
- Listen without defending: The aim is not to refute the feedback or defend the stand but to listen to what the other person has to say.
- Ask questions to understand the feedback: Understand the feedback completely.
- Thank the giver for the feedback: It is tough to give feedback. Especially developmental feedback so managers and peers tend to avoid them until inevitable. Create an environment where people can give you some feedback without emotional “atyachar”.
- Be positive: Even negative feedback always has a positive side. It may hold the key to achieving better next time. So do not get depressed instead use your emotions as a path to guide you through the task you want to accomplish.
- Reserve your right to evaluate the feedback and sieve out what you think is relevant.
- Use the feedback BUT do not go too hard on yourself. It is good to implement the feedback given but do not let it overcome you totally. For example: after being told that your work lacked creativity you should go and find some ideas, a new way of doing things, maybe ask a friend or a colleague who is creative but you should not be so focused on it that your performance in areas that you previously excelled in dips.
- While giving feedback there are a few things you should remember:
- Be encouraging: the way you give your feedback is extremely important as it can make someone’s life or taint it, it can make them cherish you or resent you, it can end up as a huge benefit for you or it may increase the load you have to lift. Never make it seem like you are putting the person down, you have to make the other think that what is being said is beneficial for him and not just a clash of your egos. So never make it personal, let it be only about his/her work and that too the particular assignment.
- Give positive feedback in public and negative feedback in private.
- Always provide an alternative: if you are telling someone that you do not want your work done in manner ‘x’ then it is much more helpful if you give them the way you want it done. That way it saves a lot of effort for the other person and you get just what you want.
Contributed by Lariena Kumar, Associate Larks Learning Pvt. Ltd.
Learn more and reach Lovely Kumar for training workshops or DISC assessments at www.larkslearning.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 91-9899108659