➢ Feedback is a way of communicating

➢ Intention has a great impact on the outcome of the feedback session

➢Get the best out of it

One of the keys in making an organization a success is the ability of its people to adapt to and foster change. Feedback is one way to achieve that.

The word “feedback” already has its negative connotation of being wrong. Why not? We have been taught in school that for us to excel, we need to have all the right answers and getting something wrong often constitutes to a bad behavior or result.

However, in growing, failure has to be experienced and thus, feedback is necessary. But, we’ve grown too complacent with feedback that other managers and peers take advantage of the word for their own personal gain. It’s either they want to boost their ego by demeaning their colleagues or they don’t want to acknowledge other’s success.

Still, many corporations do not have a stronghold on feedback loop that employees, most of those who are willing to learn, do not really see the value in them. Instead of growth, most of the time, feedback causes rift and political disarray in the office environment.

So how do you really foster a healthy feedback process?

According to Eric Baker, there is no easy way to achieve this in an instant, but multiple studies show that people who seek out feedback have higher job satisfaction and creativity and those who “specifically seek out negative feedback” were able to have a tremendous increase in performance.

The first thing we need to do when approaching feedback is to just look at it as a form of communicating. The manager believes there is something you can work on and instead of looking at it as a personal attack, treat it as a simple commentary for your betterment.

“Being able to say what you have in mind opens up the communication between you and the manager and hinders the personal rift that often happens when two sides make feedback personal. ”

Employees would usually receive feedback with a fake smile and a nod that has hidden thoughts behind it. But, if we look at feedback as a simple form of communication, this would mean that it’s a two-way street. The other person provides feedback and you, as the receiver of that feedback, could also ask questions and clarifications on the comments being said.

You could actively ask why the manager thinks you’re not performing enough when you believe you’re giving your best. It is possible that the manager is focusing on a different key metric than the ones you have been focusing on for the past month. Being able to say what you have in mind opens up the communication between you and the manager and hinders the personal rift that often happens when two sides make feedback personal.

What is the real intention of the feedback?

After we have understood that feedback is simply two people communicating their ideas for the gain of something better, we have to establish the intention of every feedback.

One of the most popular case studies of “Bad Managers” is the fact that they use this feedback not as an opportunity, but as their avenue to show other employees they are better.

They lecture instead of provide feedback. In Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen’s book, “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well,” this type of feedback that comes from the wrong intention often leads to ZERO LEARNING.

The people at the other end of the feedback would not have the right mindset for improvement. So, what they would focus on is proving the other person wrong instead.

However, there are times that even though the intention is wrong, the feedback may still be a way for you to improve. As Stone and Heen have both said, you have got to watch out for “themes” in the feedbacks. If you have heard other people tell you about this “quirk” before, you should maybe take a look at it from a different point of view and revisit your stance on the case. If you have at least three different people pointing this out, it is highly possible that they are not wrong, but you.

Feedback result is dependent on the person

Lastly, we can never control how people act or what their intentions are. You can use all your time and energy into deciphering whether the feedback is actually constructive or if it’s an evil scheme aimed to bring you down. Either way, it shouldn’t really matter.

What you can do is to test an adjustment period and see if it works. Follow-up on that feedback and adjust your approach on work based on that feedback. See if it will yield positive responses from your peers and your manager.

Putting new things in practice is how the most creative people in the world produce ideas.

At the same time, feedback actually encourages camaraderie between colleagues. Wharton professor Adam Grant talks about the science behind advice and how it improves one’s performance.

“Studies demonstrate that across the manufacturing, financial services, insurance, and pharmaceuticals industries, seeking advice is among the most effective ways to influence peers, superiors, and subordinates.”

In all industries, it is proven that feedback is a powerful tool for both the managers and employees. If done right, this could propel the organization forward as well as the personal successes of the people in it.

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