This month we look at the topic of giving and receiving feedback.

Communication around ‘hi’s and hello’s’ is simple stuff in the give and take between people – though sometimes even those can be difficult situations. However, the nitty gritty of communication is the complex nature that giving and receiving feedback brings.

The implications and importance for giving and receiving feedback at work are endless. The tool that manifests every business strategy from something on paper to something accomplished by a team of people is the ability to give and receive feedback. Nothing gets done without people.

The biggest impediment to the actual giving and receiving of feedback is our emotions. Too much emotion (worry, tension) and too little emotion (a lack of empathy) are the thorns in the side of good give and take between people. These emotions can cloud clear thinking.

Finding ways to structure feedback that are focused on fact, logic and outcomes helps to abate those extra emotions that can get in our way. For those who lack empathy, constructively thinking about how others may feel can go far in shaping your feedback to be very productive. Empathy can be taught.

Sitting face – to – face, having to share tough news isn’t easy (doctors do this every day with great disparity in skill and outcome). When you do have to share bad news, know that the look on your face has already given up the tone of the message – so delve in with awareness of what a situation needs.

For those who must share feedback with their employees – here is one humbling thought: Our people’s performance, or lack of it, can have as much to do with the clarity of our direction, shared goals, updates and motivational style – as it does them. So when you phrase your feedback to your employees, make room to share what you feel you have done to contribute to the problem and what you can do to help the situation going forward. It will build a winning combination of looking to solve problems together.

Receiving feedback can be as hard as giving it. Again, it is the amount of emotion we bring that can really block the message being heard. We offer some ideas on how to manage this side of the equation.

Communication is a powerful and underutilized tool in organizations. I see it as not only critical to strategy, but as a strategy in itself.

Research on the importance of giving and receiving feedback is compelling as well. We now know what we have intuited: There is a positive correlation between the level of feedback that organizations provide and the level of employee engagement in those organizations.

Giving feedback in the best interest of the business at hand is critical. Providing feedback in the sincere effort of helping others is equally as critical. Asking for feedback and accepting it gracefully is the start of the cycle.

Hope you enjoy.



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