A to Z of people skills – Feedback

May 2nd, 2012

Those of you who know me won’t be too surprised that F is for feedback. Business relationships, particularly between colleagues and managers, can be enhanced so much by exchanging effective feedback. If you ask most people what would help them in their job, they often say things like “knowing more about how I’m doing”, “getting more feedback”, “praise would be nice”, “even negative feedback would be useful, as at least I’d know what I need to not do”.

Ask the same people when was the last time they offered feedback to someone else and they are usually a lot less vocal as they are if you ask them how often they ask for feedback.

Intellectually, we know we need to know how others perceive what we do, in order to work out how successful, or otherwise, we are at work. Our own reflections will help, but they are only part of the story. Emotionally, though, we are concerned, worried, even fearful, that by giving someone negative feedback, they will be “devastated” and telling someone what’s good will just make them “arrogant”.

When you start to delve into the feedback people have given and received, it’s usually not too long before you notice that the biggest problem is a lack of skill in delivering the feedback and then, at taking it on board. So, three tips to get you started …

  1. Ask for feedback from someone whose opinion you trust.
  2. Ask them to be specific about what they saw and heard you do and how they felt / reacted.
  3. Say “Thank you”

Let me know how you get on and if you’d like any further help.

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