We are weeks away from the end of Q4 2022 and most can expect the coming weeks to be filled with giving/receiving feedback. I know, your immediate reaction to that is negative. But, in this article, I am going to discuss why feedback doesn’t have to be hard, and the essential difference between criticism and feedback.
When employees feel comfortable sharing, asking for, and receiving feedback of their performance, you can expect notable changes in how your company operates. Feedback is critical in improving performance organization-wide and it is a two-way street. Not only should feedback be provided by managers to their team, but employees should share it with their managers as well. Everyone has a unique set of strengths and developmental areas, so creating an easy and structured way to request and receive feedback is crucial. “Some of the most successful people take the opportunity to ask for feedback at the end of a big meeting or project to ensure they get actionable insights in a timely, contextualized manner.”
Receiving constructive feedback can be difficult, and it may lead us to feel offended and defensive. In order to receive feedback effectively, be an active listener. Hear the person out, and listen to what they are really saying without making assumptions. Be open to new ideas and different opinions and understand the message. Ask questions for clarification if needed. Lastly, follow-up on your feedback. This could simply involve implementing the suggestions given to you. In other situations, you might want to set up another meeting to discuss the feedback or to re-submit the revised work.
Giving effective feedback can also be difficult. Consider the feedback’s potential value to the receiver and how you would respond – could you act on the feedback? Concentrate on the matter on hand, not the person. Balance the content, make it a conversation. Be realistic; begin by providing comments on specific strengths and providing reinforcement, and then segue into areas of improvement and include specific examples of what that might look like.
Criticism is focused on weakness; feedback helps to build up strengths. Well-framed feedback can actually help people connect to their strengths and capacities that will help them improve for the future. A solid work environment will have opportunities for giving and receiving feedback in hopes of collaborative growth, rather than a critiquing approach leaving employees feeling uncertain and discouraged.