Giving and receiving feedback in the workplace can take your team and leadership to the next level, improve self-awareness, and lead to business growth. Providing feedback regularly and directly is a big contributor to effectively making changes within your organization. It can be difficult and uncomfortable, but communication is crucial to evolving relationships.
We use the book, Thanks for the Feedback, as a helpful resource that explores giving and receiving feedback within a team. If you have ever struggled with how to give and receive feedback, this episode is for you!
What we cover in this episode:
- 07:09 – The Receiver of Feedback
- 08:02 – Two Core Human Needs
- 12:14 – Three Triggers When Receiving Feedback
The Receiver of Feedback
The most important part of feedback is not the feedback itself or the person giving it, but the person receiving it. The importance lies in the receiver’s mental state rather than the delivery or content of the message.
When someone feels bad or sad, they may not focus on the information provided. Feedback can cause a more emotional response if they are already in a bad mood. It is difficult for the person giving feedback because we cannot be certain of everyone’s mental state. However, the receiver’s mood has an impact on how they comprehend and utilize the feedback.
Two Core Human Needs
Humans need to learn and grow, but also actively seek acceptance, respect, and love for who they are currently. These two ideas clash, because if you fully accepted me as I am now, there would be no need for feedback.
The Need to Grow
Most humans want to learn, grow and better themselves personally and professionally. This is why providing constructive feedback is important in a leadership role. The ability to offer your team areas of improvement will only better your team relationship and your business.
The Need to Be Accepted
It can be difficult to provide this feedback for personal and professional growth while also ensuring that your team feels accepted. Most people dislike criticism and advice for improvement because it implies they are not doing things well now. Accepting feedback can be challenging, however, it is crucial to view it as an opportunity for improvement and personal growth.
Three Triggers When Receiving Feedback
Sometimes as humans we tend to ignore the feedback given to us because we automatically put up a defensive wall. We often believe that the information provided is only one person’s viewpoint and not the general consensus. However, giving AND receiving feedback is the way to make it effective. Here are three triggers that contribute to wanting to reject feedback when receiving it.
SEE (Truth Trigger)
This is the challenge to see the feedback for what it is. Because of this, it is important to ask clarifying questions about the feedback.
For example, if a team member gives you feedback that you need to be more assertive or aggressive, get clarification. Their idea of assertive communication may be different from yours. You may not want to be seen as assertive and aggressive, but if the feedback truly means, enhancing your communication style, it may be necessary. Instead of becoming defensive, cultivate curiosity to understand what is needed and make the proper adjustments.
WE (Relationship Trigger)
We, is the relationship trigger, or the “who” (the person that is delivering the message.) This can make all of the difference to the person receiving the message. In any relationship, both parties must share trust and respect before they can give or receive helpful feedback.
If you do not have a good relationship with a team member and you try to give constructive feedback, they might not take it the way you hoped for. Likewise, if someone you did not fully trust or have a bad history with, attempts to give you feedback you might not take it lightly and take it more of an insult, attack or unnecessary, which it may be.
ME (Identity Trigger)
Me is the identity trigger, your relationship with yourself. This occurs when you receive feedback that is in direct conflict with the person you consider yourself to be. We all have blind spots and can tend to get defensive if someone points out a flaw we weren’t considering.
Sensitivity to Feedback
There are three components that contribute to the sensitivity one has for themselves, called baseline, swing and sustain/recover.
Baseline refers to your typical attitude. Are you a glass half full or half empty person? Do you love life or are you constantly a bit dissatisfied? Basically how happy or sad are you on a scale from 1-10.
Swing considers the size of the reaction you have to the feedback. When you get positive feedback, are you over the moon happy or just shrug your shoulders? When you get negative feedback, do you overreact or take it in stride?
Sustain/recovery, refers to how long you let the feedback consume you. If someone provides negative feedback you, do you dwell on it for a long time or can you let it go easily?
Different personalities have a major impact on giving and receiving feedback. There are so many components that impact giving and receiving feedback. It is a complex interaction built on trust, respect and prior experiences for both parties. If you are interested in this topic, we highly encourage you to dig deeper with the research done by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone.