Management research proves that high performing individuals proactively seek and receive feedback
The dictionary describes ‘feedback’ (“feed”+“back”) to represent the return of a part of the output in a given process or system to its input. The term ‘feedback’ was originally used by scientists launching space shuttles to communicate data with the space vehicle in order to maintain peak performance.
In the organizational context, feedback is the cornerstone of communication and performance effectiveness process. As an individual, it helps us become more self aware and get in touch with our blind spots. The absence of a feedback mechanism (formal or informal) could result in creating blind spots – when you will never know how you are doing (current performance) and what you can do better or differently (potential).
When was the last time you sought feedback from your leader, colleague, significant other, family member or friend? How often do you invite it? Management research proves that high performing individuals proactively and periodically seek feedback to assess how they are performing, to determine the consequences of their actions and modify their behaviors. Here is a quick guide to giving and receiving feedback.
Feedback must be backed by data or specific incident or patterns of behavior.
Be descriptive in sharing what you have ‘seen’ the individual ‘do’ or ‘say’.
Do not judge or label the person while sharing feedback.
A good feedback conversation helps establish the dots between actions, reaction and consequence
If you experience resistance (the other person gets defensive), it would help to step back (re convene later) or reframe the manner in which you are providing feedback to help them understand your perspective.
Time your feedback by ensure that you and the seeker are in the right frame of mind.
Be specific on your request – it’s a good idea to share the reason why you are seeking feedback and what specific behaviors or areas you want the other to focus on.
When the he/ she starts sharing feedback – just listen, don’t defend or give explanation.
Ask open ended questions or specific examples to make sure you understand the other’s perspective.
Keep asking – “what else”, “anything more you want to add” to get the details.
Focus on the future by asking advice on what you must do differently or better.
Summarize in your own words what you have understood after the conversation to communicate what you have understood and the missing links.
Sincerely thank the person for their time and inputs.
Take some visible actions to demonstrate how you have incorporated the feedback you have received.
Find opportunities to give and receive feedback. It shows that you care about yourself and the others in your environment. Remember feedback is a powerful tool to help you and the others realize their full potential and release their brilliance!!
Want to try: The only way one can learn the art of giving and receiving feedback is by practicing. As the next step, this is what I recommend
Find one person you want to seek feedback from and ask them these questions:
What are the areas of strength that I can leverage?
What are the areas of development or opportunities that I need to work on?
What do you see are ways in which I can maximize my potential?
Jaya Narayan is an alumini of Tata Institute of Social Science with over 15 + years of rich multi organizational experience. Her passion includes executive coaching and organizational development.