We all have experienced feedback from our environment especially in organisations that have Formal feedback systems for employees, though their effectiveness can be a subject of debate.
- What emotions and feelings does the word “Feedback” stir up for you?
- How often have to sought feedback from your family members?
- How often have you preferred to keep quiet instead of providing feedback to your peers?
Consider you are going to attend two similar meetings with only one difference and that is-
In meeting One– You know there will be feedback on the attendees;
In meeting Two– You know there will be no feedback for attendees-
Will your behaviour be different in these two similar meetings?
What is your understanding of the word, “Feedback”?
Feedback literally means “using the output information to improve the input.”
If the word “Feedback” is well-intentioned and is as purposeful then why do we dread it.
Let us explore the reasons:
- We are not trained to receive and give feedback (here I don’t mean sandwich approach or similar methods)
- We receive feedback only when there is a negative gap, i.e. when what was achieved was less than expected
- We normally don’t receive feedback when achievements match/exceed expectations
- Our culture is not to provide feedback when things go wrong
- We don’t want to upset the other person
- We want to remain in the good-books of the others
- We are not aware of the benefits of receiving and providing feedback
- We assume that feedback will make no difference to the person/situation
- We think it is not our job to provide feedback (especially in case of peers)
- We fear that feedback may provide inputs we may not like (we want to look good to ourselves)
- We believe feedback is coloured due to subjectivity (dependent of the person providing the feedback)
- We fear feedback may show gaps that are difficult to fill
- We believe “ignorance is bliss”
What are your reasons for :
not providing feedback?
not seeking feedback?
Having worked with numerous executives and a large number of corporates as a Coach, I consistently observe lack of practice for “providing and receiving feedback” for any of the reasons above. Here I provide a harmless exercise for executives who wish to tread this path of “feedback from informal systems”:
Ask your kids/individuals who are likely to be honest in this conversation,
- “When do you like me most”? (Using “When” will make them think of instances and are likely to be correct?”- trust me on this one, I tried it with my daughter.
- “What do you not like about me?”
- “What habit of mine bugs you the most?” (the word “bug” is their favourite by the time they are 11-13 years)
- “How would you describe me to your best friend?”
- “How would you describe me to your teacher?”
You can ask similar/your own questions to your friends/family members with whom you dare to start the feedback dialogue.
I’ll be happy to receive “feedback” on the results of your findings. Cheers!!