Feedback is a Gift by Sandra Long

feedback is a gift

We all love glowing compliments about our work. But what about the sting from feedback that we might occasionally get from a boss or coworker? While the compliments are lovely and feed our ego, feedback is the real gift. After a long career, I remember each of these conversations vividly. I improved my presence, communications and leadership as a result. Over time, I learned how important it was to seek out feedback if it wasn’t automatically offered to me.

Accept the gift with open arms. We never reach our full potential if we can only hear how wonderful we are. Listen and learn from others to grow and expand your capabilities. A trusted advisor, friend or colleague will tell you the truth if you ask them. You are truly fortunate if you have a manager who tells you how you can improve. If she says nothing, you need to ask. It’s far better to hear the feedback than have your manager or coworker telling others about a problem with your work. Hear it for yourself and then do something about it.

As a manager, I also experienced the flip side. Employees who reflect and adjust actions based on feedback are the joys of any manager. One of my employees was very defensive and would not accept my occasional gift. Although she was a stellar performer and the feedback was minimal, she couldn’t take it. She was defensive. She would say “I didn’t do it that way because…….” instead of “Thanks for the suggestions, let me rethink this and get back to you.” Other people had to do her work because she could not accept feedback. An otherwise top performer becomes a liability if they can’t be open to other people’s ideas and their manager’s suggested improvements.

How so you successfully give feedback? As the giver, make the comments timely, specific and constructive. Be respectful of the other person. Be helpful. Explain why your idea or suggestion might be preferable and be ready to discuss. Be open yourself as you give and get feedback. Have a helpful two way conversation with the goal of improvement.

You can learn from both getting and giving the feedback gift. Seek it out and appreciate the power of always working to improve yourself and upgrade your skills, as well as helping others to develop. How do you successfully give or get feedback?