Giving Feedback

Giving Feedback is hard. Most managers don’t know how to give feedback. Though their heart is in the right place, their methods suck.

The new radical transparency movement is detrimental to our self-esteem. The rigorous, frequent, candid, pervasive and critical feedback is hard on the individual. I learnt this lesson painfully in my Xperian days.

Whiplashes don’t work because we are horrible raters of other humans. Our evaluations are coloured by our own beliefs, biases and behaviours (aka idiosyncratic rater effect). It distorts our feedback. Most times, feedback is about the giver and not the receiver (prone to systematic error).

It is like a pain scale. Your doctor has no idea how you feel though you say 7 on 10. The same holds true for our colleagues as well. We don’t know what they are going through.

Neurologically speaking we grow more in our areas of strength and not in our areas of weakness. Focusing on strengths catalyse learnings and attention to weakness smothers it.

So what can you do as a manager?

1/ Focus on their strengths. Ask what worked well in the past, working well now, what do you know that works well in this context (future) helps.

2/ Change your language from can I give you some feedback to here’s my reaction, here are three things that worked for me, here is what I would do, when you did x I didn’t understand y, I lost you here, when I don’t hear from you I get concerned that we are not aligned, I am struggling to understand your plan instead of here is what you should do, that didn’t work, you need to be more communicative, you lack strategic thinking, you suck with response, you should do x etc. The focus of the language is about you and not about them. It helps.

3/ When someone does something really well, stop them and tell them what is really working well. It induces oxytocin and gives them confidence to do more of that.

When we don’t know the others persons intentions, we don’t care what they say. In a trusted relationship, when we know the person cares about us, we are tuned to listen and especially listen to what is working well.

🥂 to feedback!

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