Feedback....is it needed? Do I want it?
A little history first
According to Peter Drucker’s book Managing Oneself, feedback was created by a German theologian in the fourteenth century. One of the greatest examples of feedback was the implementation of it by John Calvin, and Ignatius of Loyola who used it with their followers. They both found the Calvinist church and the Jesuit order, which came to dominate Europe in nearly 30 years by using this system to maintain performance and results. Without it they would not of done so especially at the pace in which it was accomplished.
Feedback is an important part of your growth and is also needed for mentoring. The first major company I worked for had feedback embedded in its culture and during the orientation periods was spoken about in length. This was the first time I had experienced feedback at this level and it took some adjusting and understanding to be able to process appropriately.
Below are some steps to assist you in easing into this process whether you are giving or receiving it.
Delivery- This is one of the most important tips to focus on. Body language and tone of voice can absolutely kill your message. To truly deliver feedback appropriately you first must care about the topic and the individual you are delivering it to. If you do it will be easier to deliver the feedback in the right manner. Most individuals don’t react well to being scolded, and we want the feedback accepted to correct the behavior, this is readily accepted if your student knows you are on his or her side.
Remember “never punish a learner “, and feedback is a mechanism to improve and praise performance, if delivered appropriately.
Frequency and Balance- Feedback should be constant, the more feedback the quicker we can achieve the results we are looking for.
This is where balance comes into play though, it’s also our responsibility to ensure that we are not overwhelming our student, each personality is different so you have to manage this and look for signs that we are giving too much. One of these signs is frustration. When evident change up what you are doing.
It’s also important to remember that feedback should be balanced with opportunities as well as what they are excelling in. Let them know when they are great at something, without this balance doubt will set in and that is enough to destroy someone’s confidence.
Acceptance- Conversely we also need to learn how to accept feedback. If we become defensive as we don’t know how to handle being redirected we will frustrate the feedback giver and make them uncomfortable, and it will stop. Receiving feedback is a gift, this is coming from someone that cares enough to help us and teach us. If they stop then we won’t receive any and then our growth stops.
Assuming we receive balanced feedback in the appropriate manner we need to work on our ego and keep it in check as the rewards are far more important.
Till next time,