Did you hear the story about the boy in the Cummings family that was very uncomfortable? Every time his father said grace and asked forgiveness for the family’s shortcomings, the boy thought he was the “short Cummings” that his father was concerned about!
How many of you have ever had a misunderstanding with your…
- Boyfriend or Girlfriend?
- Customers or Suppliers?
I have learned that good communication between people in a family, with friends, and at work is rooted in mutual understanding and is fundamental to anyone’s success.
Peak-performance teams are constantly exchanging feedback.
And in their discussions, attention is focused not just on things, but on people – their communications, understandings, feelings, attitudes, coordination, and cooperation.
It’s very easy to…
- Make quick decisions on your own in the short run
- Be curt and directive
- Be demeaning or even insulting when providing feedback
- Be offensively aggressive while winning arguments to the detriment of a relationship
However, it takes little additional time and effort to…
- Encourage others’ contributions and feedback
- Encourage involvement
- Ask for commitments instead of demanding them
- Be constructive and supportive when seeking improvements
- Be able to disagree without being disagreeable
- Have an appropriate attitude toward others – the willingness, desire, and commitment to provide mutual constructive feedback
Without evidence of how a team is doing, how can anyone know how to get better? If they don’t know whether they’ve succeeded or failed, how can they be interested in what they are doing, much less how they could improve?
Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:2-5. ESV
Most leaders find it difficult to give or receive, good constructive feedback.
They are often blamed, but they are seldom trained in the process.
No wonder you hear the employees lament…
“We the uninformed, working for the inaccessible, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.” – Jim Lundy
Good leaders and team members learn that to optimize their long-term effectiveness, they must learn to express themselves honestly and appropriately.
In short, they help each other feast on feedback.
Every person can optimize family, friends, and work relationships by learning two approaches to constructive feedback.
Optimal work relationships can’t prevail unless those involved in the organization develop and maintain an open communicative environment where feedback thrives.
Mutually respectful relationships can be built and lead to effective team performance if those involved provide feedback to one another in a calm, constructive, sensitive manner.
When my company kicked off our AQLTM (Ask Questions and Listen) QIC-Day, I introduced asking questions by using the following free download (click <here>) provided by my good friend and mentor Jim Lundy on…
- How to give constructive feedback
- How to receive feedback
How to Give Constructive Feedback
When giving constructive feedback, your goal should be to help the recipient obtain information about how they might alter behaviors.
Tip: Great communication depends not only on what you say but how you say it!
The following guidelines may be helpful…
- Be sensitive to the recipient’s readiness to receive your feedback.
- Be considerate to protect the recipient’s self-esteem and be clear and specific. Ambiguity or vagueness will tend to confuse the issue.
- Focus on behavior, not traits, and express feelings, not your judgments.
- Be timely because when feedback occurs promptly, memories are much more accurate.
- Be brief and confirm understanding by having an open discussion on how the recipient would summarize the feedback.
- Ask questions and offer suggestions, don’t dictate.
- “Look forward to opportunity, not backward to blame.” – Jim Lundy
- Undertake periodic damage control checks by asking questions.
- Above all, focus on the recipient’s needs, not your needs.
Tip: This is not a “gotcha” time, or when you back up your “dump truck”, and you unload your non-constructive feedback.
How to Receive Feedback
“The greatest weakness is the awareness of none.” – Unknown
People who provide information on how they feel about the various things that you have done (or are doing) are investing their time and effort to make information available to you.
Without their efforts, you would not have the information so you would not have an opportunity to act on it and improve.
Whatever you do about your feedback, at least be appreciative!
“He who would defend his weakness can keep them – and probably will!” – Unknown
The following guidelines may be helpful…
- Keep an open mind because it will have a major impact on the amount of information you absorb.
- Listen to understand and confirm your interpretation or understanding with the sender.
- Do not interrupt, but make notes for use in seeking clarification later.
- Control tendencies to react immediately. Remember your mission is to seek understanding.
- Seek further clarification, but be careful not to be defensive or argumentative in the process.
- Keep reality in perspective because the sender is expressing their feelings to you. It is a reality to them.
- Express your appreciation because you are receiving a gift of information.
- Discuss suggestions for improvement.
- Obtain more information from others for additional views.
- Change your behavior because your progress will be in proportion to your desire, dedication, and persistence.
- Seek feedback on your progress.
“Many receive advice, few profit by it!” – Publilius Syrus
Whether you are giving or receiving feedback…
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey
Don’t forget to download the list of 34 Questions to Help You Give and Receive Feedback – just click the image below:
How well do you give feedback? How well do you receive feedback? Wherein do you need to make improvements? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend.