Feedback You Get Thanked For – Good or Bad!
Feedback is one of those things that is not typically sought out and is often dreaded. What if you could learn to ask for feedback that was actually constructive? AND what if you could learn to give feedback that others actually wanted to listen to? Good or bad!
If you are an aspiring leader who wants to grow and improve, asking for feedback is essential to your growth and giving constructive feedback will help others grow.
Feedback Gone Wrong – What NOT To Do
At the conclusion of a talk I gave, I let the audience of successful female professionals know that speaking was a new endeavour for me and I would be open to any feedback they were willing to share.
Within seconds a tall, attractive woman was waiting her turn to talk to me. When she introduced herself she spoke with a heavy German accent and mentioned she was a professional speaker. I felt lucky to be having a professional share her advice.
However, what she shared was more about my style of presenting versus my content. She commented on my lack of professionalism as a speaker because I came out from behind the podium and leaned back against the table behind me when I was sharing a story, stating that a professional speaker would never do that.
Initially, I felt a bit defensive but then I realized this is something she would have never done. She had a very formal style and I am a bit more casual.
In fairness, I did openly ask for feedback. What I didn’t do is ask specifically for the feedback I wanted. In the end, I graciously thanked her for sharing what worked for her.
She didn’t share how I could improve – use better inflection, share more details of a story, use my hands more or less, provide more explanation regarding a point. This is what I was looking for but it wasn’t what I asked for.
Feedback That Feels Fabulous
Feedback offers a great opportunity to learn and grow. Positive feedback is nice to hear although it is the ‘and better’ that helps us stretch ourselves.
What often happens is we ask for general feedback and what we get is a general response. When we give general feedback we address what the end result needs to look like but don’t give any specifics of what to do. This method does not produce the outcomes we are looking for.
For instance: A leader came to see me because her boss was frustrated by the lack of results she was getting with her clients. She told her she needed to get better results or she would find herself out of a job. I started by asking her to describe a typical meeting. Within five minutes I could tell her several changes she could make that would begin to positively impact her results.
Her boss just told her she needed to change. I told her she needed to make direct eye contact when speaking with her clients, to stop playing with her hands and speak with a more commanding tone by eliminating the upward inflection at the end of her sentences. These are things she could easily get her head wrapped around to make change quickly.
The goal is to give feedback that is specific, constructive and useful.
We need to give people something to work with. To make a change we need to know what change to make and act in alignment to manage the reputation of our brand.
It’s All In The Delivery
Often we shy away from feedback because of the way it is shared. When we share from a place of frustration, it can come across as criticism and feel like an attack on our character. When giving feedback address the issue, not the person.
A tool I learned from a training I attended with Jack Canfield is instead of jumping into ‘what didn’t work’ is to feedback ‘what they could have done specifically that would have worked better for you.’ It allows the person to hear what is said and implement the feedback immediately to improve.
It was powerful! The second presentation delivered was close to flawless.
Here are five key points to keep in mind when asking for feedback or providing feedback to a family member, a friend, colleague or direct report:
- Be specific. When you are requesting feedback ask specifically what you want feedback on. If you want feedback on a behaviour change don’t just ask how you came across in the meeting, ask if you came across confidently when speaking. Also, be specific about what a person can do to make it better for you when giving feedback.
- Ask people whose opinion you value. You want to ask for feedback from people whom you respect and that have created success in their own lives. Don’t ask just anyone.
- Give feedback based on how a person can improve. Don’t give feedback based on how you would do it.
- Share from a place of caring, not a place of judgment. The way you deliver the feedback you give can influence the meaning.
- Ask for feedback only if you are ready to listen. Don’t ask for it and then defend your position.
Feedback, done right, provides a growth opportunity for the giver and receiver.
What is your style in providing feedback? What key points are most relevant to you in getting or giving feedback? Who do you need to be asking for feedback to play bigger?
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!
Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.