Why Giving Honest Feedback To Each Other Will Always Be a Win-Win
Expressing how you really feel about a teammate or a friend will always be positive for both sides
I always wonder why giving straightforward feedback is so rare — and it should not be — so let me spend this article to tell you about the benefits of giving honest feedback.
A common misconception is thinking honest feedback is offensive and harsh but it is genuinely a beauty in human communications to be able to truly share how we actually feel or think about one another without any filters. Now do not get me wrong, if someone keeps talking negatively about other people and call it “honest feedback” that person is being a jerk and it is not covered by my advocacy.
Let’s take a look at the possible scenarios:
Reaction A: You Give Honest Feedback & The Person Gets Angry
You give feedback and she/he reacts in a not-so-nice way and gets super defensive and does not respect your argument. Let’s remember that in this case you are not necessarily right or fair but you just shared your opinion in a respectable manner and without the intentions of being offensive. Ask yourself, do you really want to be working closely with someone who doesn’t want to take honest feedback? How does the future of working with someone like this look like? Is it really good? Aren’t you happy that you just found out this person is illogical sooner rather than later?
Reaction B: You Give Honest Feedback & The Person Counters Your Argument
So imagine that you put out what you thought about — again in a respectable manner and without the intentions of being offensive — and your colleague explains to you her/his side of the story. Being logical, you realize that the person is actually making sense and that your argument was invalid. You apologize and mention that you did not want this to be stuck in your head and now you understand the other side of the story. Set this as a foundation of honestly and sharing where two individuals just share what they think and are not afraid to admit mistakes. This can result in a much stronger relationship between the two of you.
Reaction C: You Give Honest Feedback & The Person Acknowledges It
This time you do the same and turns out the person actually admits the blind spot and mentions that he or she could not realize that without your feedback. He or she may even thank you for helping them do better and become a better person. A nice reaction from you would actually be asking for the same kind of feedback and mentioning that this can happen to anyone and we all have our blind spots; there simply are things about us that we do not realize by ourselves. Realize that in this scenario you can also set the tone of your relationship with the person to get so much more real and honest.
Now less about them, let’s talk about you:
Key here is to be the person that you want to give feedback to. Do you react violently? Are you willing to admit mistake when in fault? Are you willing to hear someone else give you advice that makes sense? How will you react to that? The three examples above are considering that you are being reasonable and logical. Remember this starts with you first. The idea of having relationships where you can actually express yourself and also get feedback on how you can be better should be enough of an incentive for you to pursue this.
In a fast paced environment — similar to our company — this can be a time-saving practice. Aside from the benefits in time, it also helps us be surrounded with teammates who want to help us become more self-aware and better. There are times where we all make some wrong assumptions and we are not afraid to admit mistake in that case. Giving honest feedback may have some hiccups or miscommunications but once you really get used to it, you might also realize this is a great growth-hack!