If you dread your annual performance review and hate the idea of criticism, you’re not alone. The anxiety, the pressure, the expectations, not to mention the wasted time—annual reviews at work are largely unproductive and uninspired.
That’s not to say that feedback isn’t important; rather, the value of effective feedback in the workplace is priceless. If you wait until your annual review to get feedback on your performance, however, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’ll never achieve your full potential with annual feedback.
Instead of being surprised by unclear expectations or deflated by ineffective evaluations in a once-a-year meeting, managers and employees should implement a continuous loop of two-way feedback. Having a constant feedback loop is important in relationships at work. When given, received, and implemented with thoughtful intent, feedback benefits everyone.
Benefits of Feedback
Feedback in the workplace matters. It allows everyone on your team to learn, grow, and ultimately reach their potential. Both the sender and the receiver benefit from the exchange of effective feedback. When conducted thoughtfully and strategically, feedback can benefit your organization in the following areas:
- Communication: Create a healthy flow of two-way communication.
- Performance: Improve performance at all levels by maintaining focus on goals.
- Conflict: Minimize misunderstandings and diffuse conflicts before they happen.
- Growth: Uncover learning opportunities and identify a baseline to measure future accomplishments.
- Change: Improve change management and ease transitions.
- Connection: Form stronger relationships and foster a friendly work environment.
- Compassion: Help one another pursue passions and understand personal motivations.
As you can see, feedback touches nearly every inch of your company. Not only does it bolster performance, but it also sends you on the path to develop a high-performing team.
How to Give Feedback
Giving feedback can be as difficult as receiving feedback. Along with following the rules of communication and applying the platinum rule, respect is the number one rule of giving feedback. Be supportive and helpful, not cynical or negative, and make sure the feedback you give is direct, constructive, and honest.
Orienting your feedback toward the future is another key. I love Marshall Goldsmith’s concept of feedforward. He explains that feedback can be “limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic” because it “focuses on the past, on what has already occurred—not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future.” Despite its anchor in the past, effective feedback helps people do things better in the future.
How to Receive Feedback
Eagerly seek out feedback, especially if you’re not getting enough of it. Don’t underestimate the value of feedback from people who know you best. Talk to colleagues, mentors, bosses, people you admire, and even your family and friends.
It’s easy to shy away from feedback. Instead of hiding from it, aim to accept feedback with an open mind and a growth mindset. Strive to remain open to change. Resist the urge to defend yourself; remember that feedback is rarely personal. Being open to receiving feedback is the first step toward effectively implementing—and benefiting—from it.
How to Implement Feedback
No matter how carefully feedback is given and received, feedback is only effective if you do something with it. It’s worthless if you don’t make an effort to implement the suggestions you receive.
To learn how to implement feedback, think about how coaches and athletes in sports exchange feedback. A coach notices something that isn’t working during practice. They immediately stop the drill to explain the problem. They reenact what went wrong and show the team how to execute the play correctly, including an emphasis on the desired outcome. The team asks questions for clarification. Once they reach an understanding, the coach blows the whistle, and the team tries again—and executes it flawlessly.
Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching® certification is one tool to learn to implement feedback. It includes guidance on identifying what you need to work on after you receive feedback and then using continual feedback to gauge your improvement. Effectively implementing feedback is a crucial skill for leaders, one that benefits your attitude, relationships, communication, and overall performance. It’s worth investing in implementing feedback.
Unlock Potential through Feedback
Giving and receiving thoughtful feedback empowers your entire team, but feedback is still only as valuable as what you do with it. Accordingly, when each individual team member intentionally implements feedback, the entire team reaps the benefits.
Questions to Consider
- Are you giving and receiving effective feedback?
- What emotions come up for you when you get feedback?
- What do you do with the feedback you receive? How do you measure your improvements in the future?
I’d love to help you learn how to effectively give and receive feedback. Contact me to learn more about leadership advising, coaching services, and additional resources.