Every few months, I run a three-hour boot camp on strengthening your skills as a receiver and a giver of feedback. (Check here for upcoming sessions of the Feedback Boot Camp.)
While three-hours is a short amount of time to spend on a big topic, we focus on reviewing the fundamentals and tuning our skills. And, I arm individuals with practice tools and guidance to take back into the workplace. It’s always what you do after the training session that makes the real difference.
Top Ten Insights from the Latest Feedback Boot Camp Cohort
The groups are engaged and forthcoming with their unique and sometimes horrifying experiences with feedback, and we all learn (myself included). Here are the top ten insights shared by the cohort this week:
- Almost everyone has been scarred by poorly delivered feedback at some time in their careers. There’s a long shelf life for poorly delivered feedback. As one participant suggested, “This can do some serious, long-lasting damage.”
- From the receiver’s perspective, “It’s easy for poorly delivered feedback to sound like an indictment that challenges your sense-of-self.” When this happens, the giver’s credibility is destroyed.
- Vague feedback is toxic! It leaves individuals confused and their minds swirling. I agree.
- On the positive side, feedback properly delivered is motivating and empowering.
- One of my favorite statements when we worked to define the purpose of feedback: “To generate another avenue of thought around an issue. To help individuals think differently.“
- There was universal agreement in this session on the need for feedback experiences to be discussions that promote exploration and learning for all parties. The guidance: stop the feedback monologues.
- On the issue of strengthening as a receiver of feedback, various ideas jumped out from the group, including practicing fierce listening, asking for feedback more consistently, striving to put the feedback giver at ease, cultivating self-control to not react to feedback we disagree with, and approaching the discussions with curiosity to uncover nuggets of insight we can use to grow stronger.
- This group was united in their dislike of the “praise sandwich” for feedback. (Starting with a positive, moving to the negative, and ending with a positive.) “This waters down the intent of the discussion and confuses the receiver,” offered one participant.
- As we explored the required building blocks for quality feedback discussions, the group highlighted (as do all other cohorts) how challenging it is to make sure those elements are part of every conversation.
- We agreed that we, as managers and leaders set the tone for the feedback culture’s quality in our working environment. It is incumbent for us to model the right behaviors and teach our teams how to understand better and apply this vital performance tool.
That’s the short-list. Whenever you gather with 15 intelligent people in a session and talk about a topic important to all of them, the insights flow easily. Kudos to the individuals in this group for caring so much about how they support and develop their team members.
Check here for information on upcoming Feedback Boot Camp sessions.