Thoughts on Feedback

Thoughts on feedback, the really short version.

Feedback is difficult and needs a lot of practice. Why? Because emotions are involved.

There are two parts to becoming better at it. The rules are simple, but it’s hard to live by.

Receiving Feedback

To get feedback, you need to be and also look open to feedback. If your face changes and you start being defensive - even if you have counter arguments - when someone gets out of their way to give you some feedback, there is a chance they won’t do it again. And yes, we’ve all been there.

  • Listen to what the other person has to say, even if you disagree.
  • Ask questions to understand more about the situation. Keep notes.
  • Thank the person for the feedback. They’ve given some thought, time and care about you.
  • Sleep on it.
  • Act if needed.

And yes, ask for direct feedback like hell! I usually mention to the people around me that even if their feedback “hurts” me, at the end of the day, if it’s constructive, it will make me better. It’s going to make me grow.

Giving Feedback

There is a strong possibility you have some feedback about people, but you are hesitant to share it because you are afraid of how the other person will feel and how it might make you look like not a good person.

  • Be empathetic, respectful and direct.
  • Try not to judge, but describe a situation and its effect.
  • Be precise and provide examples, don’t be vague.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Everything about providing feedback ends when you do it. After that, It’s the other person’s job to filter and evaluate the input. There is no need to convince or be convinced about anything.

You can’t imagine how fulfilling it is to hear an honest “Thank you for pointing this out. I wasn’t aware of that” after providing hard feedback.

One last note. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Radical Candor and SBI (Situation Behaviour Impact) model by Dimitris Glezos a few years ago, which helped me improve the way I use feedback. So it’s my turn now to urge some people to give these resources a try if they haven’t already.

This was originally posted on LinkedIn.