The Importance of Feedback
Contributed by Fife Oshun
“There has to be a willingness to constantly accept critical feedback and rapidly iterate to make things better” – Sam Yagan
Receiving feedback is always daunting, whether it be professionally or personally. Hearing someone critique your performance, personality traits or general character is unnerving but oh so necessary to personal development.
You need it to grow, so recognising this, the key is to command how you receive and process it. Primarily, you must optimise the context, such that you are comfortable asking for feedback and confident that it will be beneficial for your growth.
Commanding the format in which you receive feedback
One big way is to command the format in which you receive feedback. Give permission for feedback, ask for specific examples and perhaps even start with your own self-critique. For example, “Could you give me feedback on x, I think I am doing well in y and z but would like insight on how I am doing in x.”
Benefits of good feedback:
It is beneficial to know what 'good' looks like, not only for yourself but so that you can provide others with constructive feedback.
- Know the areas you are performing well and how to take them up a notch. Positive feedback has been linked to boost employee morale.
- Feedback is crucial for continued learning. If you continue to do the same thing, you will continue to get the same results.
- Feedback ultimately improves overall performance.
How to receive bad feedback productively:
You will not always get the best packaged feedback but nonetheless, there is always a chance to get the meat and throw the bone.
If possible, seek clarification. Feedback is pointless if you are not exactly sure what they meant. Ask further questions, ask for examples…whatever you need to be able to understand fully.
Ask for guidance
Ask what better is. People find it easy saying what you did wrong but most of the time people don’t know how to say what better looks like.
Separate the message from the messenger
Most of the time we are unable to productively process negative feedback because of whom is giving it. “Who does s/he think this is?”, “s/he doesn’t know me! “etc.
The closeness of the person giving feedback, or lack thereof is often an unnecessary blocker but when we can take their words at face value, we are able to evaluate the feedback for what it is worth.
Help them help you
Do not be afraid to critique the person giving feedback. Guide them into being more helpful to you.
As you begin the new year, be intentional about seeking feedback -both good and bad, in order to grow.
By Fife Oshun, connect with her using her twitter handle @feefeh_