5 Fascinating Facts About Feedback
If growing and becoming better at what you do is important to you, then feedback is a necessary part of that process!
When you hear the word “feedback” what’s your initial response? Feedback causes many folks to cringe! While it’s often confused with criticism, feedback is not always negative. In fact, feedback can be quite inspiring. It all depends on how capable the feedback giver is and how you choose to receive it.
If you want to grow and improve yourself as a leader, feedback is the ticket! And it’s also essential that you know how to give it to your people so that they too have the opportunity to grow and become better at what they do.
Feedback is the fertilizer that feeds you and your people so that they thrive and grow beyond what they would otherwise.
The reason for fertilizing a plant is to provide it with the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive. You’ve seen examples of plants without the fertilizer and the flourishing plants with the fertilizer, right? When you are flourishing, and your team is flourishing, you are poised to accomplish something great! I know you want that!
Eager to expand yourself as a leader? Then ask for feedback!
Committed to developing your people and maximizing their potential? Feedback is the way to go!
Here are some fascinating facts about feedback:
1. It Hinges On Trust
Trust is created when you feel as though someone has your best interests at heart. When you feel safe with someone, you observe how reliable they are, and they demonstrate that they know what they are doing, it adds up to trust! That’s not something that happens overnight for most of us – it takes time!
TRUST = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy
Feedback that fertilizes and helps you grow and your grow people happens in the context of relationship.
2. It’s A Habit
Yes! Get in the habit of inviting feedback. When you model asking for it from others it not only normalizes it, but it also shows your people how to do it. And the bonus when you ask for feedback: it’s far more effective than when It’s unsolicited!
I get massages on the regular. Yesterday I had a massage therapist I’d never had before. At the end of the massage she advised me to see a chiropractor to remedy my tight muscles. Even though I am a fan of chiropractors, I’m highly unlikely to follow her unsolicited advice because I didn’t ask her for it and we have not yet built trust.
Regularly asking for feedback is like a steady drip of fertilizer!
3. It’s Forward Focused
Feedback stings when it highlights your mistakes, shortcomings, and failings. Feedback that helps you potentially grow is forward focused and solution oriented. In other words, when it communicates what you did well, how you can do it even better, and provides a clear target to shoot for is much more likely to give you a boost and help you grow!
4. Feedback Frameworks Help
Giving feedback that is useful and received well takes practice. And you have to practice successful methods of offering it. Here are some options for you:
Option #1: Keep doing this…Stop doing this…& Start doing this.
This framework provides very clear direction in a simple way! You don’t have to use all three if you don’t need to.
Option #2: SBI
S = The Situation (Be as specific as possible.)
B = The Behavior (Don’t speculate about motives or causes. Just state what you observed.)
I = The Impact (Describe the impact of the behavior you observed)
Here’s what I would like going forward: (Offer a clear target)
Here’s an example: In yesterday’s meeting (The Situation) I felt your agenda you created was clear and kept the meeting on track (The Behavior). That allowed us to finish early which I appreciate and still accomplish what we needed to get done (The Impact). Congratulations! Keep preparing an agenda and facilitating meetings with that kind of intention! (See, not all feedback is negative!)
Option #3: Ask/Describe/Brainstorm
Ask: “Do you mind if I give you some feedback? (Only proceed if the answer is yes)
Describe: I’ve noticed you’ve had trouble responding to your emails in a timely fashion and that important things like the Stanford deal are falling through the cracks…
Brainstorm: Let’s brainstorm solutions! What ideas do you have? (Only share your ideas if they are stumped!)
A Few Basic Tips:
- Be timely – the sooner you address a positive or negative situation the better!
- Use “I” statements – they are received better than “you” statements
- Prepare! Even if you have to pause and think for a moment, consider what you will say before you say it.
- Be specific
- Offer feedback privately
- Consider your motive – why are you offering feedback?
5. It Takes Practice!
There’s no better way to develop your feedback skills than practicing! I promise it gets easier. However, giving feedback is not the only skill to practice. It takes practice to receive feedback too!
Have you ever received feedback from someone that felt anything but life giving? I know I have! Did you know that too much fertilizer appears to have a positive effect because the plant has a giant growth spurt? Unfortunately, the root system, the part you can’t see, remains underdeveloped and unable to supply the plant with the water and other nutrients it needs to thrive.
When feedback is harsh or unexpected, it’s easy to shut down, get angry, hurt, or discouraged causing you to respond in not so fun ways. Perhaps it’s a subconscious way of preventing others from offering it again in the future. The more receptive you are to feedback, the more you will grow – even when the feedback giver does it all wrong! Remember, it is a super food! And when your response is positive you will stand out.
Fertilizing is not a one-time event. It’s something that must be done periodically to keep the soil in peak condition for plants. Not all plants have the same fertilizer needs! Leeks, for example, do best when given a boost of nitrogen periodically during the growth process.
Some plants are “heavy feeders” requiring significant nutrients like cantaloupe, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts while beets, carrots, and okra are examples of moderate feeders.
Light feeders don’t require much fertilizer beyond what you give them when they are planted like turnips, peas, and mustard greens. They are able to naturally take care of themselves.
In the same way, people require different amounts of feedback so it’s good to know what your needs are in that area, as well as what the needs of your team.
Here’s a quick video on how feedback has helped me grow.
How has it helped you grow?