Feedbacks have a multitude of emotions around it when given, asked, received, and even heard. We all have been in this ‘feedback journey’ in any or many stages of the mentioned earlier. The way we handle it, address it, and emerge from it is key to the success of its impact on us.

Here are some lessons on feedbacks that I have experienced over the last 2 decades being a part of the Corporate world. You may relate to some or many or even all ?.

We are ending the year 2020 and probably the right time to just absorb the below lessons and use it to your teams and your advantage!

  1. We all appreciate feedback from trusted sources on what we are doing that is working and what we can strengthen or change to improve our success. In general, people feel as if they don’t receive enough of this quality feedback. This is where proactiveness comes from the Leaders or Managers to make this a ‘routine’ to have the right impact.
  2. Our memory cells are filled with examples where managers or colleagues gave us feedback that felt more like an attack or allegation, than support and coaching. It’s sad but true: people struggle to identify feedback examples that made a significant difference in their performance or success. Here is where the intent of Leaders and Managers needs to be rightly expressed to take things in the right spirit.
  3. Saving up feedback is never a good plan. And how often do we see this happening? Waiting for the ‘right time’ is so very common! The worst example is “dump truck” feedback, where the manager unloads everything, they’ve seen us do wrong at one time which is typically during the annual performance evaluation. Here the ‘intent’ has been questionable, hence the outcome and ‘impact’ is always going to be irreversible.
  4. The idea of giving or receiving feedback generates stress for all parties. We need to work hard to build a quality feedback culture. Here the conscious effort to make it a part of normal conversations will build trust and acceptance to work on the right feedbacks. Leaders need to drive this behaviour upfront.
  5. Creating a healthy feedback environment includes setting expectations for it into group values and a manager or team lead who models great feedback behaviors and teaches quality feedback practices. Such teams we observe thrive on constructive feedbacks and emerge more innovative and fearless in their outputs.
  6. Positive feedback is powerful, desirable, and importantly very ‘difficult to craft and deliver’. We should work harder on helping individuals recognize and go along with their positive behaviors. Leaders should use this in occasional bursts to make sure that the tempo of impacts are favorable to the member and teams and organisation at large.
  7. Since “observed behaviors” are the foundation of quality feedback, we have to create more virtual and physical opportunities via team meetings, briefings, ideation sessions, and other events to catch our team members in action. In today’s online world, the ‘video-on’ mode may help you capture these and express them in a timely manner.
  8. It pays to take time to think through how we open our feedback sessions. During the practice segments, there was widespread surprise and agreement at how important and how difficult it is to construct an opening sentence that incorporates the building blocks of quality feedback and sets the right tone for the discussion. So take your time, make notes, and rehearse what you want to say. Remember the ‘intent’ and ‘delivery’ will result in the right and desired ‘impact’.
  9. Great feedback discussions are a dialog, not a monologue. Nothing more to say here. Very often these days ‘stories’ are an ideal way to help give feedbacks that stays!
  10. Not all feedback is offered with our best interests in mind. Seek out feedback from trusted sources. We can choose to ignore feedback when the intent is questionable. So, it is critical to even not get too obsessed with the feedbacks, in order to help us shine at all times.
  11. Upward feedback is as important as the reverse. It highlights the observations, concerns, involvement and forthrightness by the employee or manager or leader to be able to give to the reporting manager or even the CXO. This exemplifies a high degree of engagement in an organisation, not to mention the culture that is fertile for such feedbacks.

Look forward to your comments on any new feedback mechanisms you would have used as a leader, manager, or team member.

Wishing you all a healthy end to 2020 and an even healthier 2021.

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