Feedback is a gift that is both widely misunderstood, as well as being incorrectly applied when it is. Yet so many would value the outcomes if a little time was taken to be clear on what needs to happen.
Those dreaded words, ‘Would you like feedback?’ are, oxymoron-like both a carrot and stick at the same time. How could something of such potential value be wrapped around something so clearly set up to beat you up with?
It’s Time for a Rethink
Feedback needs to clearly reflect perspective. And when we think about it, most of us do a pretty good job at what we do, all things considered. In fact, probably 90%+ of what anyone does in their job is pretty good.
Yet how often does so-called ‘feedback reflect and highlight short-comings as that 90%+?
When we give feedback, it’s vital to focus on what people do well – and share with them opportunities to be even better. Feedback is as simple as that, where what people do is proportionally reflected in the feedback they receive.
90% good to great; 10% what might make it even better.
Doing this regularly (so that the ‘Would you like some feedback?’ sinking moment becomes history) makes it more even; more valued and more likely to created important change.
Setting the Example
As leaders, we have an obligation in this, because others look up to us to show the way. When you want to give objective, supportive and developmental feedback, it’s also vital – yes, even as a leader – to take it yourself.
The challenge is to take that feedback and NOT make excuses, give reasons etc., in the moment, but just to say thank you to the person giving you feedback and reflect, both on their courage and generosity, as well as what you need to do differently in response to their feedback.
So often, leadership arrogance tends to get in the way of this, which them precludes their own development and damages the relationship with those of their people who have taken the time to give them the feedback that so often a leader will miss out on.