How to give and take feedback at work
We all know that feedback matters. Most of us want the good, the bad and the ugly. We just want it in a way that builds trust and respect, not damages it.
Yet we don’t know how to do it that well. Or we think we are good at it, and the problem is the receiver. Let’s look at how to give and take feedback well in the workplace and become the colleague that people want to work with.
People hear your content but they smell your intent.
Yes, it’s important to get the message across with the right examples and content but if our heart is not in the right place that is all they are likely to remember. How you made them feel. You can fake it til you make it but we are clever humans. We know the difference. So check your intent. Are you there assassinate or to educate?
Your opinions are not facts.
They are true for you but they are not the truth. We all see things as we are, not as they are. We all have different filters for seeing the ‘truth’. If we come into conversations with this in mind we are sharing our perspective and the intent changes as well.
If you don’t have facts, don’t have a conversation.
Facts are non-disputable. They cannot be argued. What people actually said, how they acted physically, dates, times, numbers. If you can’t prove your opinion then no wonder people react. It becomes an opinion war. Not a healthy conversation to understand where people are coming from.
Harvard tells us that if we have a good relationship to receiving feedback we are in the top 10 percentile of high performers, rated by your peers. Now that’s pretty compelling. So how do we become expert receivers?
Be aware of your triggers. We all have things that trigger us off and we react poorly. Whether we have ‘regretitis’; “I should have said that” or we freeze in the moment and later say; “I wish I’d said that”. To decrease these reactions we need to be aware of what pushes us into reactions we don’t want. It may be the relationship you have with the person that triggers you, or the content you don’t agree with, how it is delivered or if the feedback challenges your character. We need to understand that these are our triggers so we can self manage in the moment.
Chose to find the gold. Gold is hard to find right? That’s why it is so valuable. Finding the gold in feedback moments can be hard work sometimes too. But choosing to find something that is valuable (no matter how poorly it is delivered) is OUR challenge. If we don’t do this we could be the ones to miss out on finding out something about ourselves that helps us grow.
Ask for it.
Too many of us sit back and wait for others to give the feedback. They are just as nervous or fearful as you so make it easier to start a feedback movement. This is how we create the feedback culture we are seeking. We become the walking example, not the talking one.
And don’t forget three things. Be specific; Let them know what you would like feedback on so it’s easier for them. Give them time; most people can’t think on the spot so book a time in a few days later. Frame it well; Ask them for what’s working and what could be better.
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