Feedback is a real world, interpersonal, learning experience—we learn how to build or strengthen a relationship when we ask someone (or we are asked) to be frank and to challenge our current work or behavior.
Feedback asks both parties to learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable–dealing with feelings that naturally come up when someone has to “share” the “facts” he thinks we need to know. It’s asking us to take responsibility for what we say, how we say it and why we say it. When done in the spirit of thoughtfulness, integrity, and encouragement, feedback can be one of the best constructive career advancement and relationship building tools available.
And as last week’s NK-H tips pointed out, feedback conversations are never easy and can be awkward, even when both parties are on board and positive. So if/when you ask someone for feedback, be sure to
- Focus your full attention on making comments that are about actions and behavior, not personality or personal.
- Put your energy into listening to what is said, not planning what you will say.
Before the feedback meeting ends, gain agreement on major points of discussion and changes identified.