We receive feedback all around us every day. This is the world telling us about what’s going on – you receive feedback when you step on a scale or when you pick up the phone. Some feedback is direct and some feedback is in the direct.
Feedback can help us figure out if we are on the right track or the wrong track.
A quote that resonates with me when I think about feedback by Thomas A. Edison, “ I had not failed I have just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.”
When you get the feedback you can adjust as you go. You can decide whether the feedback has validity and whether or not it is something you want to integrate into what you do on a regular basis.
There are a lot of courses on how to deliver effective feedback but there isn’t a lot of information on receiving feedback. I came across the book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen and it’s a New York Times Bestseller – very powerful. They are also co-authors of another great book called Difficult Conversations.
There are three forms of feedback according to Heen and Stone/;
- Appreciation – which everyone loves – kudos, the praises, and the high fives.
- Coaching – Coaching is meant is for improvement
- Evaluation – Evaluation is seen as judgment – that is when people can become standoffish because if an evaluation is good, “they are like oh – great!” then we are back to appreciation. If they see the evaluation as bad, they feel like what they bring to the workplace or the business front is not recognized and appreciated.
An example of a time when I was coaching someone they thought I was going to come from a place of evaluation and that they would be in trouble for someone. So I said “No, no, no. I am here with the intention of coaching.” We took a step back and I talked about the three types of feedback and that my intent was to from a place of being a coach, “I am here to help you improve and offer suggestions.” At the end of the day, the receiver of the feedback decides whether or not they are going to accept the feedback or not. It changed the whole tone of the conversation. Instead of that person thinking I was making a judgment about their performance, we were able to further discuss how we were going to use this information.to improve for the next time. If the giver and receiver are not on the same page, you will start noticing tension and misunderstanding which can lead to difficult conversations.
If you ensure that your receiver is understanding what you are trying to deliver, (if you are the delivering the feedback) it makes the feedback ready to absorb.
You may be asking yourself, “When is a good time to deliver feedback?” The things you need to keep in mind is that not everyone likes to receive feedback publicly or likes to be coached in front of their peers. One of the things that I find works very well, if you can step aside and go to a quiet area or behind closed doors, so you can have this conversation so the person you are talking with can be very candid and allow for the vulnerability – that deep conversation.
You want to start off by listening for what the receiver hears from the feedback. When you are delivering the feedback, you can remind them from what place you are coming from, appreciation, coaching, or evaluation. Once you make you make that clear, ask to make sure that the receiver knows that. As the receiver, if you are unsure as to where this feedback is coming from you have your own responsibility of saying, “Hey, this is what I am hearing, are you trying to coach me or are you trying to pass a judgment? Because what I am hearing is this…” This makes a huge difference in these conversations and could really avoid any misunderstandings.
Think about how you receive feedback and don’t be afraid to offer feedback in reflection. Something Marshall Goldsmith encourages is Feed Forward – offer suggestions and improvements of what can be better next time. An example he likes to use is to imagine someone did a presentation in a meeting and they did not do a very good job. People were nodding off, distracted and started playing on their phones. It was not well received and instead of telling the person that the meeting did not go well. The FeedForward approach is about offering them suggestions of what they could do better the next time and having the open discussion. Most of the time if the person is self-aware they are going to know if it did not go well especially if they were able to read the room. Instead, of reminding them and rehashing the obvious, let’s talk about how we can make it better. Always focus on the positive side and moving forward.
Think about how you have received feedback before. I myself, while I was reading this book, I had a family situation come up. I was like “Why is this person telling me what to do?” I actually got a little bit defensive and a little bit upset with it. As I was reading the book, I actually took a step away to go to a quiet space to read this book. My ah-ha was “Oh, okay, I get it. Even though they said this, I did not have to accept it. They were offering me feedback without knowing the whole context of the situation. They came in part way and did not think about it. I asked myself, “Were they trying to make a judgment or offer me some improvement?”
I decided to take it as some improvement. So I thought okay – I am not going to let it bother me. It was easier to let it go and move forward. I do not want to be holding grudges and I hope that you don’t either. Because these things hold us back from getting the success that we want. Every time you see that person you will think of that situation and all it becomes is a weight – a weight on your back that stops you from moving forward. If you want to achieve success, you cannot have grudges. You cannot hold onto the past. You need to be able to move forward, learn the lessons that you need to, and see if there is valid information from the information you receive.
Use the feedback you receive to your advantage. Is there some truth to the feedback you are receiving? Is there something you can do with it? Is there something you need to stop doing? Adjust your course as you go – soon enough you will be on the right path to your success.
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. Her writing has been published in a variety of print and online magazines. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. Sign up the Success Secrets Newsletter and get your free mp3 download today! www.debrakasowski.com
Time 10:15 min