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There are many things that we do not learn in school and that people can hardly teach us. One of those things is how to give and receive feedback. Is there a formula? Is there a method? Well, in fact, there are many and we can’t say they do not work. At least, in theory.
Over time, I’ve realized that most human beings do not have the natural capability of giving feedback without hurting or insulting the listener’s feelings or thoughts.
Putting myself on an arrogant position, I can say that most of the times, the feedback I receive is very poor – not that I’m an expert or a master on topic. In fact, I’m not even saying that I am the best receiver. What I say though, is that people so much uncomfortable with giving and receiving that most of the times what they say isn’t more effective than an everyday comment.
And why does that happen? Why are people so afraid of feedback? In my opinion it is due to the fact that tends to label feedback in two major categories: good and bad. If the feedback is positive, well everyone’s is happy and we are cool with it. In spite of this, we are afraid of saying it because people might get cocky or something and we don’t want that. On the other side, when the feedback is negative we might hurt someone. It is proven that negative feedback more impact on listener’s than a positive one.
Like most everything in life, feedback is also about trust and acceptance. Above everything, I believe that there isn’t bad or good feedback. Feedback is just feedback and we must be willing to give it or receive it without hard feelings or cockiness. More than a working tool, feedback takes us further on our teams while building things that go beyond what’s visible and what is productive.
With its help, we become better and learn be friends with the person beside us. And please notice that I used the word “person”, instead of “worker”.
How do I give and receive feedback?
My intention with this blog post is not to teach the art of giving and receiving feedback. Who am I to do such thing? In fact, my biggest motivation is to present my opinion about the topic and question my own thoughts. I’m not expecting to find any conclusion alone, but hopefully together we will get closer to one. When we get there, we’ll question ourselves once more and will become even closer to something else. We’ll repeat the process until… well, ever.
So, when I ask for feedback I usually:
- Ask for it, of course.
- Listen. I do not hear. I listen.
- Observe. I do not look. I observe.
- Try not to justify myself.
- Depending on the feedback, I do not argue and I ask for a time to reflect about it.
- I thank.
When I give feedback, these are the things I usually do or try at least:
- I notice if in that day it is comfortable for the other person to receive feedback.
- I ask them if they are available to give them my feedback.
- I try to do it One on One
- I listen. I do not hear. I listen.
- I observe. I do not look. I observe.
- I try to put myself on the other side. All humans do what they do for a reason. I try to understand why they did it that way.
- I say “thank you”.
Now that we are over, I would like to ask your opinion on this blog post. So can you give me your feedback? I thank you in advance!