Feedback – A vital nutrient for growth | Jackie Crispin Brown
jackie crispin brown

Hands up if you want feedback. Yep thought so. Keep your hand up if you love giving feedback.

If you’re like most people, you love getting feedback but hate giving it. For many of my clients (and I dare say, like most Australian managers) their biggest fears about giving feedback is that they might say the wrong thing, damage the relationship or think it’s just too subjective.

But the truth is, feedback is a vital nutrient for growth. In fact, 60% of participants in my latest research said feedback was key to their development.

I actively seek feedback, so I am very comfortable with getting feedback. I think all feedback is good even though it’s not done productively. Sometimes the biggest detractors can be the ones that that give you the nuggets of truth about something you need to change.”
(Director, 41 – 45)

And if you’re serious about Authentic leadership, then you’ll understand that having a growth mindset is critical to becoming an authentic leader. However, the disconnect between wanting feedback and be willing to give feedback isn’t lost. Most of us know that there is very little quality feedback in organisations today and, each of us are contributing to the situation.

So here are my top tips to giving effective and useful feedback:

Start small – Practice giving small pieces of feedback will help build skill in feedback.

Reflect – after giving feedback, spend 2 minutes thinking about how it went – what worked, what will you do next time?

Focus on the receiver – If you focus on yourself and how uncomfortable you feel, it will get in the way of the feedback you’re trying to give. If you focus on the receiver and how they will benefit, this will help you give constructive feedback.

Check your own attitude – are you coming from a constructive, non-judgemental empathetic place?

Positive feedback – it’s a great place to start. It feels good for both parties “I noticed people were really engaged in the meeting when you were asking questions, it seemed to have real impact!” or “I really like the way you managed that conversation. Jenny left clear about what has to happen and confident she can do it!” or “I really appreciate you support in that discussion, thanks”

Go with the basics:

  • Be timely with feedback.
  • Be specific “That was good” or “That was bad” won’t help the receiver grow.
  • Share observations “this is what I saw or experienced”
  • Ask the receiver what they experienced, how they thought it went, what would they like to be different.
  • Make it actionable
  • Be fair, respectful and empathetic (when have you been in this situation?)

Finally, focus on the bigger picture – feedback makes a difference. By giving feedback you are helping people grow AND you are building on trust in the relationship. Remember, the more you give and receive feedback the easier it gets!


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