Feedback is a Gift
Sandra Long | Work| By
We all love glowing compliments about our work. But what about the sting from feedback that we might occasionally get from a boss or coworker? While the compliments are lovely and feed our ego, feedback is the real gift. After a long career, I remember each of these conversations vividly. I improved my presence, communications and leadership as a result. Over time, I learned how important it was to seek out feedback if it wasn’t automatically offered to me.
Accept the gift with open arms. We never reach our full potential if we can only hear how wonderful we are. Listen and learn from others to grow and expand your capabilities. A trusted advisor, friend or colleague will tell you the truth if you ask them. You are truly fortunate if you have a manager who tells you how you can improve. If she says nothing, you need to ask. It’s far better to hear the feedback than have your manager or coworker telling others about a problem with your work. Hear it for yourself and then do something about it.
As a manager, I also experienced the flip side. Employees who reflect and adjust actions based on feedback are the joys of any manager. One of my employees was very defensive and would not accept my occasional gift. Although she was a stellar performer and the feedback was minimal, she couldn’t take it. She was defensive. She would say “I didn’t do it that way because…….” instead of “Thanks for the suggestions, let me rethink this and get back to you.” Other people had to do her work because she could not accept feedback. An otherwise top performer becomes a liability if they can’t be open to other people’s ideas and their manager’s suggested improvements.
Feedback is a Gift
How so you successfully give feedback? As the giver, make the comments timely, specific and constructive. Be respectful of the other person. Be helpful. Explain why your idea or suggestion might be preferable and be ready to discuss. Be open yourself as you give and get feedback. Have a helpful two way conversation with the goal of improvement.
You can learn from both getting and giving the feedback gift. Seek it out and appreciate the power of always working to improve yourself and upgrade your skills, as well as helping others to develop. How do you successfully give or get feedback?
darren weinstock says
Great article! I’ve made it my mission in life to always have mentors that I can confide in and learn from.
Sandra Long says
Thanks Darren! I agree- we can all put ourselves in the position of continuously learning from each other. A true “win-win”. Thanks for your comment.
Garland Walton says
Truer words, Sandra–giving immediate, specific, and actionable feedback is a critical part of being a good colleague. Everyone at Domus is expected to give feedback to colleagues and peers…and even your supervisor, as challenging as that can be. Regular, formal supervision is one tool for this, but we all know we’re responsible to the kids we serve to help each other be the very best we can be, through formal and informal conversations. You just have to get through that initial discomfort and realize it’ll never be as uncomfortable as you think it will. We also make it a point to deliver feedback using “I” statements (“When you said X, I felt ____”) instead of “you” statements (“You were late”)–it can minimize defensive reactions. Many great points in your article!
Sandra Long says
Garland, Glad you liked the post and thanks for your great examples. The “I” statements are very effective, so I am glad you brought that up. Thanks for your comments! Sandra
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