How to get better at delivering feedback? First, get better at receiving it.

I am in the process of reading/reviewing Jodi Glickman’s book Great On The Job – What To Say, How To Say It – The Secrets of Getting Ahead.  As I go through it I will share some thoughts that make me go Hmmmm . . .  This posting is based on one of those moments.

What is the secret to speaking what you feel about someones performance and having it end up in a place where the relationship is still intact (or stronger) and your thoughts are heard?

The first and only tip – Focus on how you request and receive feedback from others.

I read Jodi Glickman’s book Great on the Job, and one quote is stuck in my head.  It is under the chapter of Ask for Feedback and the heading of Say Thank You.  The quote is (p. 129):

The goal, however, is continuous improvement and learning, not just feeling good.  If you have a tough feedback session, remind yourself that the goal of the session is not to make you feel good.  The goal is to make you better at your job.

 

Talent management is about great conversations, and the definition of a conversation is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people who are following rules of etiquette. (wikipedia)  We all need to hear what is going well, but we have to be able to hear what we can do better.  At the heart of this conversation is a lot of smaller conversations around –  How am I doing?  What is going well and where do I need to improve?

How can we use this as individuals?

First, recognize that giving feedback is a lost art for many leaders who are, themselves, caught in a spot where nobody is telling them what they are doing well (when is the last time you told your leader about something they did well?) and the list of to do’s is only getting longer.  So, our job as individuals is to ask for it well,  stay calm in the moment of receiving it, and respond by saying thank you without our faces getting red or our jaws tightening.  Then do something with it that creates momentum for you and the organization.

Second, put extra focus into defining your role/objectives and own the one on one time with your leader.  This makes talking about performance  easier.  Here is a template if you want an example of what that looks like.

Getting and giving good feedback is not easy, but it is pretty simple.  I wonder what would happen if both leaders and followers read this one chapter together and tried it for a couple of months.  My guess is some great conversations would happen.

What tips do you have for giving/getting good feedback?

One thought on “How to get better at delivering feedback? First, get better at receiving it.

  1. Dan – Thanks for the comments. Your question about how do you handle a person who does not ask for constructive feedback is a good one. It makes me think of a couple of friends that I know who always ‘call it as they see it” – which makes for some lively, yet sometimes uncomfortable situations. 🙂

    First, I would draw a line that not all people who do not ask for feedback would not appreciate it. I would first ask people – would you be interested in hearing some of my observations of what worked and one thing that I see that would make what you delivered better? If so, give me a call and we can chat over coffee or lunch. By moving away from the event, it makes it easier. I think too often people only offer what is wrong or ask for what is wrong. Too often I see very strong people just glow with appreciation when they hear what is right. Start there.

    For a leader, my advice would be to always go first in asking for feedback, and then tell the team that your goal is to have more open discussions around performance on an ongoing basis. Make a habit out of asking: Tell me what is working and one thing I could do to help you/this team be more effective. Work your way into the same script for each team member.

    Thanks again for the post.

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