The Gift of Feedback
Operations | Brandy Ferrer, Pathfinder Strategies | Oct 29 2019
What is feedback and what does it mean? Why is it important?
Traditional thought around feedback is that it is this big, scary thing. For example, your manager is going to pull you into an office, close the door and deliver “The Talk.” This often stems from preconceived ideas around “constructive feedback,” given an inherit negative reaction that largely stems from past experience with poorly delivered feedback. These days, though, feedback has really grown into something that is vitally important and not necessarily always delivered by a manager. It is now engrained in the way most businesses operate.
So, how do we define “feedback”? I define it as an in-the-moment or ongoing exchange of information about a person's behavior or performance, which is then used as the basis for improvement, modification or continuation of that behavior or performance. So, in other words, what needs to “stop, start or continue.” It’s just as important to have the tools in your toolbox to handle both giving and receiving feedback.
At work, I want people to think about feedback as a gift that is meant for another person. The intention behind feedback should be a positive one, not necessarily a punitive one. The whole goal of feedback is to help someone improve in some way. An organization with “feedback deserts” will not succeed. Strong leaders are always looking to improve. One of the things that I hear from clients a lot is, “We don’t have time to do that.” My response: If you’re not investing upfront in those conversations, do you then have time to put out the associated fires that will come up as a result of not have the conversations?
Whether you caught or missed my session at Applied Net, here are some key resources that can help you optimize this process both personally and professionally at your agency or brokerage.
Combatting “Too Busy”
As a manager, if you’re feeling too busy for multiple one-on-one conversations, I suggest following what I call “the drive-by.” This means that a couple times per week, you touch base with your team members by walking from desk to desk and check in by asking a few key questions, such as:
- Hey, how’s it going?
- What’s your day look like?
- Where do you need help?
- How’s it going with [insert project]?
- Is [insert client issue] resolved?
By at least touching base with your people and staying connected in some way, what happens is that some of that feedback can occur in-the-moment.
My Go-to Feedback Template
This includes conversation prompts that I find to be a really wonderful tool that goes through all of the steps of both giving and receiving feedback, including some conversation prompts. Download it now.
Ideas From Others
Even though this doesn't directly relate to feedback, I really like the TED talks from Brené Brown and Celeste Headlee. Brown talks about both vulnerability and kindness, two concepts that are key to feedback, and Headlee tackles things more from a communication perspective by starting with self-awareness.
Light Reading (or Listenting)
Another resource I turn to is Kim Scott, who has both a book and podcast called Radical Candor focused on keeping humanity front and center … even in business.
Brandy Ferrer is president and founder of Pathfinder Strategies. With over a decade of experience as a “Culture Builder,” Brandy has developed organizational development initiatives, strategic and vision plans, and national training programs. Her experience spans the public and private sectors in a variety of industries, including insurance. Her Applied Net 2019 session, “Give and Receive Effective Feedback,” marks her fourth time speaking at the conference.
Tags: Operations , Human Resources , Leadership , employee engagement