One would think that the same level of understanding and emotional response to giving and receiving constructive feedback would be relatively consistent. However, receiving constructive feedback may be perceived as a personal attack toward performance. Perhaps, the impact and interpretation of receiving constructive feedback is inadvertently misunderstood. To help understand and use constructive feedback the following six tips will be discussed: prepare, listen, ask, implement, monitor, and communicate.
1.Prepare. Constructive feedback is not a personal attack towards the individual receiving the feedback. Individuals perceive feedback differently. Depending on the emotional perspective of feedback, some individuals may perceive the feedback as an attack on the individual’s worth.If you are or are dealing with someone that you feel may be highly sensitive toward feedback, it is professional to recognize the concern and evaluate your options to provide the feedback. If you are a highly sensitive individual and receiving feedback that is anything less than an accolade, it is encouraged to prepare yourself to know that the feedback is not an attack on you, but rather an opportunity to improve in a given area. It may be difficult to separate work feedback personally, but compartmentalizing professional feedback to stick only within the scope of the professional work and not you personally may help to understand better the feedback and prepare yourself for implementing suggestions. It will also help to remain professional throughout the feedback process and building a positive working relationship.
2. Listen. Listening requires attention and skill. One can be present for a conversation physically, but not be there to understand what is going on in the conversation. If you struggle with listening, know that in fact, most everyone struggles with listening. To help you become a better listening it is essential to be present in the conversation. To be present simply requires the removal of distractions. To be present, requires internal distractions, such as running thoughts or lack of concentration during meetings. Concentration techniques vary and determine the best fit for you. “Centering” yourself to the meeting and focusing simply on the interactions in the meeting, one discussion at a time, instead of thinking about everything else that you need to do for the day and miss the context of the meeting. Listening to feedback is critical to understanding and implementing actions to improve.
3. Ask. If there is unclarity in feedback, ask. Taking the time to repeat back the issues, actions, or desired outcomes from constructive feedback shows the individual that you were listening and care about ensuring clarity in actions moving forward. Be professional with the conversation, if you tend to change your tone of voice or are easily agitated in such situations, it is encouraged to be conscious of how you ask. The more clear, direct, and calm you in asking shows that you genuinely care. If there is something that you disagree with in the feedback, it is encouraged to discuss the concern professionally. Having a professional dialogue about such challenges can help to open a great understanding of the feedback from each perspective and can strengthen the business relationships.
4. Implement. Constructive feedback is an unused asset. Individuals can choose to use the valuable direction in the feedback to improve professionally. Implementing suggested actions or identifying actions that best align with the individual and desired outcomes shows dedication to improvement. There is power in doing and doing in a manner that best works for the individual. Here, self-awareness can help to evaluate the actions needed, feedback received, and desired outcome. The situation or feedback may not change without action, and the objective of feedback is that something is going to happen, not ignored.
5. Monitor. Track your actions that align with the constructive feedback. Evaluate how small changes are impacting performance. Identifying emotions and state of mind associated with implemented changes. Be aware of the progress professionally and personally. Proactive evaluation of individual performance helps to show dedication to improving and can help you help others with implementing feedback. It also helps to know the tangible and non-tangible impacts of adjustments. In some situations, the encouraged actions provided in the feedback may not go as planned, and having the documentation or support of performance helps to communicate the progress of such initiatives.
6. Communicate. It takes time to deliver feedback. Likewise, it takes time to implement the encouraged actions and monitor the impact of such actions. Taking the time to go the extra mile and communicate with the individual who provided feedback will illustrate your commitment to improving and help to build a positive working relationship. It also is a sign of respect. The individual provided you with feedback, which is also a sign of respect because of the thought behind the feedback is designed to help you improve. To improve is to be better and to be better is a positive. Communicating to the individual that you appreciate the time, concern, and effort to provide feedback builds greater rapport and respect.
In essence, constructive feedback is a valuable asset to individuals. The value of the asset will vary depending on understanding of the feedback, dedication to implementing encouraged suggestions, monitoring the effectiveness, and communicating the impact the feedback provided. Like any asset, it is essential to harvest the right strategies to support the desired outcome. The same is true with constructive feedback, harvest the right strategies that support your desired outcome. Preparing, listening, asking, implementing, monitoring, and communicating are six simple strategies that individuals can use in a variety of manners.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
Copyright 2015 by Viral Solutions LLC
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