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Feedback – the breakfast of Champions

Feedback – the breakfast of Champions

Feedback – the breakfast of Champions

November 11, 2014

Feedback – the breakfast of Champions


In a previous post we started a conversation about how feedback can be a wonderful tool to support our own and others growth, and the growth of relationships.

I often hear people refer to either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feedback.  My thinking, however, is that if its real feedback it can’t ever be anything but positive.  The caveat here, though, is that not everything we receive or deliver is actually real feedback, and not always delivered in the most effective way.

Great feedback can build trust in a relationship, and an organisation, like nothing else.  Imagine if your working environment was feedback-friendly, and feedback rich –if everyone felt safe to communicate appropriately in a way that developed understanding, grew skills and capabilities, and enlivened relationships.  Imagine the boon of everyone being able to positively impact everyone else’s experience by being able to give and receive feedback that was always delivered with good intentions and grace.

We believe this is a real possibility –for any organisation, and I invite you to start using ‘real’ feedback as a tool to grow yourself, your people, and your organisation.

Remembering the two types of feedback we have spoken about in the past - (Feedback for the purpose of growth, and feedback that is feeding back into the system information about how you experience something) – there are some rules of engagement that are worth bearing in mind:

  • Own your own reactivity first – deal with that before delivering feedback
  • Just because you have an adverse reaction to something it doesn’t mean it’s ‘wrong’ – look for your projection before you act
  • Don’t give feedback when in your own reactivity – give yourself time to get calm and clear
  • Your interpretation is not necessarily the truth.  Check your understanding before you fall into the well of feeling
  • Watch out for ‘bandwagons’
  • Avoid pathologising and labelling
  • Speak to specific behaviours and examples
  • If it’s not intended to support growth (of an individual or a relationship) it’s not feedback.
  • Feedback is not a weapon
  • Feedback is most useful when it is descriptive – and directed towards the action (behaviour) rather than the person
  • Don’t wait too long to give feedback – the understanding gained will be limited
  • The main purpose of constructive feedback is to help people understand where they stand in relation to expected and/or productive on the job behaviours
  • Feedback is not a team sport
  • Calling something ‘feedback’ does not legitimise reactivity or inappropriate commentary
  • Real feedback is neither positive nor negative.  It just is.

Checking your thinking against this list prior to delivering feedback can help you ensure that you are embarking on a productive, creative effectiveness enhancing endeavour and not a process that is likely to cause pain to everyone involved.

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