If people know better how to give and receive feedback, they can avoid many unpleasant situations. Thus, in this Expert Insight Interview, Beth Wonson discusses mastering feedback. Beth Wonson is an executive coach, leadership consultant, and Founder and CEO of Navigating Challenging Dialogue, helping people to have meaningful and drama-free conversations.
The interview discusses:
Resistance to feedback
How people receive information
Setting the right environment
What to look for in feedback
The Resistance to Feedback
Many people resist getting feedback because it would interrupt the self-image that they have already created in their minds. And the reason why people resist giving feedback is that they do not want to ruin that self-image for others and possibly ruin relationships with them. Resistance also comes from not being taught how to give proper feedback. People usually give a commonly known “sandwich feedback,” consisting of saying something nice, something negative, and then back to something nice. However, that type of feedback leads nowhere.
As much as people like to hear feedback, leaders avoid it. When giving feedback, that feedback should be about the experience that has happened recently. Annual performance meetings are not feedback. Feedback is talking about where one’s skills are now, where they need to get, and empowering one to start developing a plan to get there. Empowerment builds engagement and drives people to accomplishments.
Calling someone to the office to get feedback already sets a very formal tone and puts that person in a defensive position. Instead, company culture should include the feedback as a part of the regular meeting or casual conversation, so it does not feel like a special event. That way, people feel more comfortable and give much more valuable insights.
Also, company culture should encourage that the feedback does not go only from superior to the subordinate. Everyone should be able to give and receive feedback. Many leaders are afraid of getting feedback because they fear they won’t be seen as an expert anymore and will lose control. Becoming comfortable with not being an expert is essential. Being transparent and vulnerable with people builds trust and creates more engagement.
When reflecting on the feedback you have just received, look for two things. First, look for the themes underneath what people have told you. For example, maybe they have given you a couple of different angles, but the overall theme is that you should work on communicating more clearly. And secondly, think about how it felt to get the feedback with that delivery method. Being on a receiving end is an excellent way of experiencing and learning from it for the future.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.