Living in today’s society has its challenges. As of late, with the pandemic you may feel like you are living in a bubble, however, this is a perfect time to pause and ask yourself some serious questions. How well do you seek, receive, and provide feedback? Have you ever found the act of asking for or providing feedback uncomfortable? Asking for or providing feedback isn’t always easy and it might cause anxiety for some people but it’s essential to your personal and professional development. Feedback forces you to consider what must change in order to become the best version of yourself. When you receive feedback, you will learn more about yourself than you thought you already knew. You will also be able to grow personally and professionally, at a faster rate than you would if you chose not to seek and receive feedback from others. With preparation, the relevant information you gain by seeking feedback from others will support your growth. Feedback is an element that will help you move to the next level if you are willing to listen and ready to change. This week’s blog will provide you with tips on asking for feedback to support your growth and give you the opportunity to provide us with feedback so that we can grow and expand our content, audience, and influence in the world of education.
Seeking & Receiving Feedback
Seeking feedback from others isn't always the easiest task. Often people have a tendency to sugarcoat the truth because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. People may also feel intimidated, therefore, they will not give you honest feedback. The reality, however, is that you need people to be completely honest with you. This can make the difference between a connected healthy relationship, and a dysfunctional relationship. It’s important to be effective with receiving feedback from others and you must be prepared to receive the information it provides. A key thing to note is that the feedback you receive may not be an accurate reflection of yourself; in truth, often it’s not at all, but it is a reflection of how you are perceived. When you receive feedback you must have a focus on a growth mindset (See growth mindset blog). So if you are looking to receive honest feedback from someone make sure that you are clear in what you are asking for. Be sure to explain that you want to be able to get the most out of their feedback. You also want to make sure that you are talking about what you can do better moving forward instead of focusing on receiving feedback that is based on your past. Sometimes, to ensure that you are receiving honest feedback you need to ask for it regularly and welcome it with an open mind. When you increase the opportunities for people to give you feedback they will become more comfortable doing it, especially when they realize that you are using it to improve and not seeing it as something negative.
It’s always a good idea to be specific on what you are asking for by asking for them to provide you with specific examples. Another thing to consider when you are preparing to receive feedback from someone is to thank them for their honest feedback and not judge them based on what they told you whether it be good, bad or indifferent. It’s also a great idea to take notes while you are receiving feedback. This will not only provide you with a tangible reference to the things you are improving, but it will let others know that what they have to say is important to you and demonstrate that you are taking their feedback seriously. They might even be encouraged to continue providing you with the honest feedback you seek.
Now that many of us are currently working from the comfort of our homes, seeking out informal types of feedback may not happen as organically as it once did. This means that you now have to take it upon yourself to reach out. Now is not the time to go without seeking and receiving feedback because if you allow yourself to go without it may hinder your growth. Don’t assume that someone will reach out to you and offer feedback unless it's solicited. Make sure that you are reaching out to others via telephone, e-mail, or even schedule a zoom meeting. Carve out dedicated time to seek and receive feedback as much as possible. Use the time away from the office or your classroom environment to reflect on your learning and take action on the feedback you receive.
Providing Feedback to Others
If you are not seeking to receive information you may be trying to provide feedback to someone. If you are in a position to provide someone with feedback you’ll want to start off by maintaining a level of consistency. Although it can be effective to provide on the spot feedback to someone, it is better to have meaningful sit-down conversations. Sometimes when we provide on the spot feedback it can lead to unwarranted or miscommunicated information for various reasons. It may not be the right time or place to give the feedback, or the person you are aiming to give the feedback to may feel attacked or caught off guard (especially if they did not solicit the feedback from you at the moment). Make sure that if you are going to provide feedback that you are prepared and willing to maintain a level of consistency by setting a realistic goal, such as a regularly scheduled 1:1 meeting for professional settings. This might not be realistic for all situations so do what makes sense but maintain your consistency. Remember, the purpose of providing feedback is so that the other person benefits from the conversation. If you wait too long to provide feedback even when they don’t solicit it from you, you risk losing validity and opportunities to help the other person grow and/or self- correct by holding onto information that could help them now.
Another thing to consider when you are providing someone with feedback is that you should be honest and intentional with the information you are sharing as it relates to the person. Use caution when you use the feedback sandwich method because it’s not the most effective way to help someone to grow. The sandwich method is when you sandwich two positives, or two things going well with an area that needs to be corrected or improved upon. This method takes away the focus on the area needing growth. It’s great when you are providing positives to others because it affirms the person but it is more important to help the person realize their potential and ability to grow and improve. When you sandwich it may leave the person receiving the feedback with mixed singles about where they stand. The purpose of providing feedback is to identify issues and to have positive ideas or goals that result from the feedback, so really, there really shouldn't be a category of bad or negative feedback. What you are providing is developmental feedback. Which includes all information needed, positive or an area that needs adjustment, in order for each party to experience growth in their respective arenas. A healthy relationship will be supportive where both parties take stock, monitor internal dialog that can create distractions, no-fly zones and does not cross the social line. It should be a conversation that will motivate, coach, encourage, and lead to change, thus encouraging forward progress and development.
Feedback Creates Win-Win Opportunities For Growth In Everyone
When you nurture others, they will grow. Whether you are seeking, receiving, or providing feedback the focus should remain on growth and what you can do differently to get to the next level. Everyone will win when feedback results in growth of individuals. No matter where you find yourself as it relates to feedback ensure that you are being intentional with your words and that you are clear on what you expect. So with this in mind, if our blogs have affected you in any way, we want to know! We want to be intentional with our blog and Yes, Inc. is asking our audience what about our blog is impactful to you.
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