Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving and Receiving Feedback

October 2, 2019
Shari Steinbach
Business Skills

We often think about the topic of feedback in a negative way because our mind may automatically equate it with criticism. Let’s face it, hearing negative things about yourself is not fun. And when it comes to giving feedback, most of us would rather avoid the uneasiness that arises from talking to someone about how they could improve. But by avoiding difficult conversations we could actually be missing out. The ability to give and receive feedback is an essential skill that can open up opportunities for growth not only at work but in life. Here are some tips for ensuring that giving and receiving feedback is a positive and valued experience:

When giving feedback:

  • Consider your purpose – The right reasons to give feedback are because you have a genuine concern for the person, feel a sense of responsibility, and to guide, mentor or support.
  • Be timely – Feedback should be provided close to the actual situation so it is more relevant. 
  • Focus on the behavior – Enter a conversation with good intentions and separate the behavior from the person you are talking to. Keep focused on the problematic situation so individuals don’t feel personally confronted.
  • Start with questions – Begin your feedback with a few questions to help the other person feel like they are part of the conversation while you discuss the issue together.
  • Offer specific suggestions – Ensure you both have an understanding of what needs to be done to improve. Your messages should show you care and want the help the individual develop in their position.
  • Follow up – You provide feedback to improve performance. Check in after your discussion so you can monitor progress and make adjustments if needed.  

Prepare for receiving feedback:

  • Just ask for it – Invite those you trust to offer feedback regularly. This will help you identify challenges up front and will give you experience with responding positively. 
  • Take time to reflect – A natural reaction to receiving feedback is to become immediately defensive. Instead, thoughtfully listen to the other person and then ask questions to show you understand the situation.
  • Cultivate a growth mindset – Look at receiving feedback as an opportunity to change and grow. Feedback can definitely help you improve at work if you look at it with the right attitude.
  • Own up to your mistakes – It’s ok to admit shortcomings, in fact, those individuals who take the most calculated business risks often have the most failures. You won’t be perfect all the time. Take credit for failures and move on.

Whether giving or receiving feedback you should be view it as a constructive and respectful confrontation that is truly a gift we can share to help each other grow.