In a business group I belong to, we have been discussing the importance of feedback, both giving and receiving. I have addressed receiving feedback in this newsletter previously. Now let’s talk about giving feedback. Most people are giving feedback at work daily. Sometimes it is to colleagues, sometimes to team members, sometime to employees. You likely have experiences in your history that evidence how you flourished because of some fantastic feedback.
I am betting that one component of your success was by whom it was given. Perhaps you really admired the giver because of their personal characteristics. Let’s say they had a career/home balance that you envied. Maybe, you acknowledged the giver as experienced, you knew they had been there, done that and got the T-shirt. I currently have a client in a traditionally male field that has been mentored by a ground-breaking female in that industry. She knows the mentor has not only survived the construction industry, but she has thrived. Could be that the person giving feedback has expertise in an area about which you were clueless! Early in my business, I craved feedback from individuals that knew marketing and sales inside out. Why? Yep, you guessed it — CLUELESS!
Next you valued the why it was given. You were convinced that they had your best interest at heart. They might have been trying to keep you from making a huge career mistake. Let’s say you were interviewing for an internal position under a supervisor they knew had a history of treating her staff poorly. Or just maybe you are one of those folks that have had a position in their career in which things were not going well. You were written up previously and someone gave you feedback trying to prevent a “third strike you’re out”. Likely, you were eternally grateful for that feedback because it kept you from being canned. Let’s say just the opposite, you were on the fast track, doing great. There was that person that gave you the heads up that if only you did XYZ, you were perfect for a promotion. I’m betting you were listening with open ears to that feedback. It’s not uncommon to me to have a client referred to me by her boss because the XYZ feedback was, “When you add polished presentations to your skillset, you will be unstoppable in your career.”
The third component is the how. Ding, ding, ding! Even if you admire the person, believe it’s given to you with your success in mind, if it’s given poorly, the receiver may not listen. It might sound like, “You SHOULD…”, most people resist and rebel with should statements. It might sound condescending, patronizing, or overwhelming. Loud, poor timing and poor location are additional how factors. The flip side allows the receiver to hear. It’s crafted as an idea or thought; it’s respectful; it is feasible feedback; and it is given at the right time and place.
By now, the hope is that you have taken yourself back to receiving feedback and remembered why that feedback worked for YOU! Also, you can remember why some feedback you ignored, deflected, or rebelled against. Now it is time for you to put the high heels of the receiver on your giver feet. Everything that didn’t or did work for you needs to be remembered. Remembering and internalizing that information gives you a roadmap to being a successful feedback giver. This won’t guarantee success, but it will up the possibility of a successful outcome.
One of your goals can be to become a more balanced feedback giver. There is a spectrum of giving. You may be a person that is more aware of changes that need to be made, problems that need to be fixed, and tends to only give feedback when there is an issue. Giving negative feedback is comfortable for you and seems appropriate. At the other end of the spectrum, are people that want others to feel good, they believe in positive reinforcement, and are rather uncomfortable with conflict and confrontation. Yet, the person that has good results with giving feedback has developed a balance. They can and do give both negative and positive feedback. In my coaching practice, I tend toward wanting to give more feedback that uplifts, inspires, and affirms clients. Clients, however, hire me to help them over obstacles. If I never make them aware of what may be tripping them up, then I am sacrificing the success of my client for what is comfortable and common for me.
We have only looked at giving feedback. You are not an island in this process. The person receiving your feedback has their own personality style, their own history of feedback, and other issues currently going in their life. This creates an environment that may make them ripe for taking feedback or a sitting duck for being defensive, blowing up at you, or completely ignoring your feedback. Plus, you do not want to miss Kay’s Consulting Corner in this newsletter, there I will give you some simple, yet powerful, steps on giving feedback that you will love. Finally, if you realize that feedback is a career nemesis for you, the advertised VIP Day at the beginning of this newsletter could be a career-changing investment.
If feedback is one of the struggles you are having in your career, know that you are not alone. This is a challenge for most people. Let’s set of a time for a complimentary 45-minute telephone consultation to chat about this and how it plays into the coaching I do with clients. Email Kay@highheeledsuccess.com to get a time for us to talk about this and other steps to your High-Heeled Success.