How many of you gave or took a feedback in your life?
How many of you found that process easy?
A few days back, three of my team members along with me, was sitting in a meeting room, though relaxed but internally thinking like - What’s the need of Feedback forum? Should we give the constructive feedback as well? How can I sugarcoat that constructive feedback? How will a person receive the feedback?
A week prior, I was sitting with my direct, thinking how should I construct a feedback so that she realizes her weak spots and at the same time do not get demotivated?
Then, last month, I was a guest speaker at one of graduating college and there I ended my presentation with “Do you have any feedback for me?” in the hope of getting a good feedback and guess what I got one – “Thank You, you covered well within the time”
Why do most of us suck while giving the feedback?
Now irrespective of which end of a feedback you are. What kind of feedback you want to give – beit positive or constructive, things appear to be difficult most of the time.
Has anyone ever come up to you and said, “Would you like a little feedback?”
Sharing some lessons, I learnt, over the time, while giving the feedback -
- Address bigger need– What’s your vision while giving a feedback? A short-term narrow sight or the long-term broad sightedness? Now both types are necessary but answers to the question “What should Person X do more of and less of, to be more effective?” can be more useful in comparison to “Person X did this wrong”
- Separate action from person – “Mandhir you have a flawed decision-making process” versus “I disagree with the decision you took in last meeting with stakeholders”
- Focus on patterns– Instead of labelling someone quiet, under-confident, self-centered basis one off incident or one-off mail, we should try to identify the patterns. Looking at patterns helps alleviate recency bias where we tend to recall and over-weight events in our near-term memory
- Add an impact – Telling someone that she is visionary can be pleasant but telling that her being visionary saves company a fortune or time can be meaningful
“How am I doin’?” Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch would always ask that question to passersby on New York City streets, parks and subways. He would stop them and query them about his on-the-job performance
How should we ask for the feedback? Sharing some lessons from other side – when I wanted to ask for the feedback -
- First & foremost, declare upfront that you are looking for an honest feedback. Let’s be realistic rosy feedback will provide both giver and taker a time-bound happiness while honest feedback cultivates the trust and embarks the actual growth
- Now, I have this friend who has the talent of finding the worst PJs out of nowhere. Now, on the WhatsApp group, he will send the initial part of the joke and waiting for us to ask for the punchline. But none of us ping back and eventually he ended up sending the punchline, on which we send LOL, ROFL
Taking a cue from this, many a times while asking the feedback, we forgot to set the context up front
- Move Forward– Instead of asking “What do you think of our last presentation?” you can ask “What future lessons we can take from our last meeting?” The idea is to focus on the future, instead of past. Ask for the habits by altering which you can succeed. Ask for the work type which will help the team to evolve
- Follow-up – Don’t wait for the next feedback forum or mid-year review or Toastmaster’s meeting. Instead, ask feedback, take actions and then follow-up with the person that gave it to you
Consider Feedbacks as a gift
You should feel honored when asked a feedback and hence provide genuine opinion but in actionable sense. How can your feedback help the receiver?
Similarly, when asking the feedback from someone, you should feel the gratitude. Take the comments in a progressive way and try to make best out of them.
One more thing, the above lessons are not restricted to the professional scenarios but also to your personal and social scenarios.
It can be as simple as rating an Uber drive or your hotel stay or a product on Amazon.