Feedback-Part Two In The Series On: Communication > A Spectator Or A Contact Sport.
The 360 degree process of Giving and Receiving Feedback doesn’t have to amount to piercing distortion. It can be an efficient and thorough way to evaluate events, projects or performance in general.
Giving and receiving Feedback is unique because of the close relational context it promotes. The context may not be a true dyadic relationship, but its structure presupposes open discussion.
And while formal reviews may take a thorough and rigid look at the performances of an employee, Feedback does not have to be nearly as long nor as formal. In fact, it should occur on a daily ongoing basis if it is to have a motivational effect on both the Giver and Receiver.
Giving and receiving Feedback it is meant to reveal the status of two things and allow for adjustments in a timely manner:
- High Task application – performance, results, technical elements.
- High Touch incubation – feelings, relationship dynamics, collaboration.
Giving Feedback can be daunting for many reasons, so it’s best to keep a clear idea of how to maximize the Feedback experience. Here are five ways to do just that:
- Be Descriptive – Stick to the focus. Giving and receiving Feedback is meant to debrief both the giver and the receiver, but it’s not meant to critically evaluate someone on a personal level. Talk about the event—whatever it may be—discuss what worked, what didn’t, what needs to change, the relevant interpersonal dynamics involved and the time to revisit the situation.
- Be Collaborative – Just because you have Feedback to give doesn’t mean you can impose it at will. First ask permission to give feedback. Maybe now isn’t the time. If not, set one up for the near future. By asking you communicate respect and sensitivity, and that can have a reciprocating effect.
- Be Specific – Feedback works on the premise that specifics of a given task or project are evaluated for their merit. So ask specific questions, probe for specific feelings and get specific answers.
- Be Timely – Feedback ought to be given as soon as possible. Wait too long, you might forget. Besides, giving and receiving feedback is best while the memories are fresh.
- Be Sensitive – The onus is on you to set the tone—especially in a sensitive or negative situation. By being aware of your colleague’s emotional state, you can avoid hurting feelings and overstepping boundaries. The process should aim to be motivational rather than de-motivational.
Both giving and receiving Feedback can be difficult. But as hard as giving may be, receiving is that much harder. Because it is personal, it takes a certain grace to receive it properly.
But that doesn’t mean the grace is otherworldly, nor its attributes secretive; the grace to receive Feedback hinges on an awareness of four things:
Don’t jump to conclusions – When you hear Feedback, don’t scream: not all feedback is bad
- Consider what is being said. Give it a few honest moments. Ask yourself what could be done different, what could be improved.
- Even if it doesn’t turn out to be all that positive, keep in mind the intent: it is only meant to help you improve.
Don’t take it personally – Separate yourself as the performer from the activity or the performance. It’s the performance that is being discussed.
Take it as a growth opportunity – Learn and move forward. Take what momentum the Feedback has created and apply it to the next project or situation.
Participate – By participating in the Feedback process you create space for trust, growth and better communication.
Feedback can play the role of ‘flint stone’ by sharpening your skills and furthering your career as well as molding stronger relationships. Giving and receiving Feedback is a good way to evaluate results and expectations of any given kind of situation or project.
By training your skills in giving and receiving feedback and coupling this with the skill of Interactive Listening, the feedback experience can be more rewarding and less cluttered by the static and distortion of every day life.