Giving and receiving constructive feedback is an important skill in both personal and professional relationships. It helps us to learn and grow. It gives us a chance to improve our performance. It can also build stronger connections between the giver and receiver of the feedback. Authentic Leaders know that constructive feedback is fuel for growth. They seldom miss an opportunity to provide that fuel to their people. Even when the feedback can be somewhat difficult to deliver, they press on.
But not in a haphazard or “off the cuff” fashion. Their feedback is thoughtful and well planned. They know that feedback can be easily misconstrued so they choose their words carefully. Here are some additional considerations of Authentic Leaders as they prepare to provide feedback to their people.
- Find a suitable environment where both parties can have privacy. Feedback conversations require focus without distractions.
- Clearly identify the behavior or situation you want to address. Provide specific examples to support your feedback. Always avoid making generalizations or personal attacks.
- Start by acknowledging the person’s strengths and accomplishments. This helps create a positive tone and shows that you value their efforts. Then, provide suggestions for improvement, focusing on the behavior rather than the person.
- Instead of telling someone exactly what to do, explain the impact of their actions. Offer suggestions for alternative approaches. Encourage them to find their own solutions and take ownership of their development.
- Frame your feedback using “I” statements to express your perspective and feelings rather than making assumptions or accusations. This helps avoid putting the other person on the defensive and fosters open communication.
- Maintain a respectful and supportive tone throughout the conversation. Show empathy by considering the person’s feelings and perspective, and be mindful of how your words may be received.
Authentic Leaders don’t just give feedback. They actively seek feedback on their own performance. They develop a level of trust with their people so that their people can openly and honestly help them become better leaders.
Many people, even those who are effective at providing feedback, struggle with receiving it. Here’s a few ideas to help with receiving feedback that at times may be hard to hear.
- Create an environment that encourages feedback by actively listening without becoming defensive. Remind yourself that feedback is an opportunity for growth and improvement.
- Seek clarification. If you don’t fully understand the feedback or need more information, ask questions to gain clarity. This demonstrates your willingness to learn and shows that you value the other person’s input.
- It’s natural to feel defensive or upset when receiving feedback, especially if it highlights areas for improvement. Take a moment to collect your thoughts, and focus on staying calm and composed.
- Instead of making excuses or justifying your actions, try to understand the perspective of the person giving feedback. Consider their points objectively and look for areas where you can learn and grow.
- Show appreciation for the feedback received, as it reflects someone’s effort to help you improve. Thank the person for their insights and for taking the time to provide feedback.
- Reflect on the feedback and develop an action plan to address the areas of improvement. Seek support or resources if needed, and communicate your progress to the person who gave you feedback.
Remember, constructive feedback is meant to help individuals grow and develop. It’s important to approach these conversations with a positive and constructive mindset. That’s true whether you’re giving or receiving the feedback.
These suggestions are by no means all encompassing. But they can help you build stronger relationships and continuously improve yourself and others.
As always, giving and receiving feedback is a choice you must make for yourself. Just be aware that the most successful people always “opt in” when it comes to feedback.