Over the past year or so, Management at my company has been emphasizing the importance of giving feedback to ones peers, Team Members and Managers. And rightfully so. The act of making yourself vulnerable and mustering up enough courage to say what you sincerely feel is in the best interest of another cannot be overstated.
So, if giving feedback is so important, why is it so difficult to do? Well, Erika Anderson puts it this way, “Most often, we’re worried about the other person’s reaction: What if she gets angry? What if he cries? What if she tells me I’m an idiot? What if he gets super defensive and starts blaming me? Another thing that makes it hard is not knowing what to say. “I can’t actually tell that person I think he has a bad attitude,” we say to ourselves. “He’ll just tell me he has great attitude, and that I don’t understand/like/respect him, and it will go from bad to worse.”
You can find many posts like Erika’s doling out tips and tricks on how to improve the giving of feedback. But, today, I’d like to flip this concept on its head a bit. I strongly believe that we should be laying the foundation for the feedback that we give in the future by asking for feedback Today.
Let’s delve a little deeper into this thought – the benefits of asking for feedback are quite vast:
- It demonstrates that you value the opinion of your team mates. Even if you don’t put his/her recommendation(s) into action, the mere act of showing your peers that you care enough to ask their thoughts of you will go a long way in improving your working relationship.
- This should go without saying, but asking (and receiving) feedback gives you some continuous improvement areas to consider. We all have blind spots – your team mates can help you identify them.
- Asking for feedback almost always immediately opens the door for you to give feedback. 9 times out of 10, after your peer shares your requested feedback, he/she will turn right around and ask you for yours.
And this door remains open. The more frequently that you ask for feedback now, the easier it will be to give feedback down the line when necessary. You’ll find that you no longer need to psych yourself up for the event like you’re preparing for battle nor have a couple of glasses of Moscato after the deed is done. Giving (and receiving) feedback will have become second-nature for you and your team and you’ll soon find that you’ve created a culture of openness, transparency and Continuous Improvement all around you. And this is the ultimate goal.
So, where do we start? Here are few simple thoughts to get us going:
- Seek out a close peer.
- Tell him/her that you value his/her opinion and that you’d like to know an area where you perform well and one where you can improve.
- Smile when you acknowledge the look of shock on his/her face and encourage him/her to be honest. 🙂
- Be prepared to share your feedback on his/her performance as well!
What has been your experience in giving and receiving feedback?