Which do you prefer, receiving or giving feedback?
Most people have a hard time with both. Either can be uncomfortable, awkward and unpredictable.
Many organizations have limited opportunities to engage in formal feedback processes. Performance reviews generally happen once or twice a year and feedback is reserved for those times.
If people aren't receiving regular feedback, both constructive and positive, their growth opportunities are limited.
And rarely do people ask for feedback from others. Imagine a manager saying to her staff, "I want your feedback. What's working for you and what could be better?" This kind of inquiry creates a culture of 2-way feedback and normalizes the process.
Most of us don't do this because asking for feedback is vulnerable. It takes courage.
Last year I was serving on a board that met virtually. A few months into our term, the two co-presidents asked that each of the members schedule time to meet with them privately to give them feedback on our experience serving on the board.
I thought this was incredibly courageous.
I had feedback to give - both positive and constructive. They listened to what I had to say. They were gracious and curious, clearly wanting to be of service in the most effective way possible. It was a great experience and inspired me.
Feedback supports growth and development. It helps us and others to be our best. We can even give hard feedback in a away that is kind, generous and clear.
When was the last time you asked for feedback and genuinely wanted to hear it?
What are your best practices for giving and receiving feedback?
I was recently feeling overwhelmed. I had a lot going on in my life, both personally and professionally. I was stressed and unsure what I should tackle first. Home projects, family visiting, and an abundance of work were all stacking up.
As I was sharing with my coach this flurry of activity, she said, "I notice that you've used the word ‘overwhelm’ several times. Let's just pause for a moment and take a breath."
She helped me to temporarily disconnect from all the “doing” that was surrounding me. She encouraged me to take a new look from a perspective of gratitude.
It was a significant shift for me. I felt more calm and, well, grateful. The busyness was a result of all good things. It was just a lot at one time. Changing how I looked at it mattered.
I was reminded of a team that starts each of their team meetings in the same way with something they call The Ripple Effect. The Ripple Effect is an opportunity for individuals to share stories about the positive impact their work is having on their clients.
Starting team meetings in this way sets the tone for the rest of their time together. It focuses everyone’s attention on the impact of their work and alignment with the mission of the organization.
I’m inspired by this example and reminded that we can choose what we focus on, and what we focus on impacts what we see.
How does your team stay connected to their mission and to the impact of the work they are doing?
When you look at your agenda for your team meetings, where is the attention focused and how do you set the tone? I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.