Now Is the Time for Feedback

Hopefully, we all know the value of feedback – whether we’re gifting others with honest feedback or receiving it ourselves. The trouble with feedback is not a failure to see its value, but a failure to express that value through our actions—for example, failing to care enough to make time to give feedback, failing to be thoughtful in developing high quality feedback, failing to push past the fears of giving feedback, and failing to realize that feedback includes praise / blessings. And one more – we often don’t trust each other enough to give and receive feedback. If you think I’m being harsh in my assessment of our feedback failures, then share with me any reasons you have or know of for our feedback failures.

I’m a simple guy – if we believe that feedback is important, then we will invest in our people and make time to give it (both in high quantity and high quality). If we are coming up short in giving feedback, then we either don’t think it’s important enough or we don’t care enough about our people. Considering that a leader’s primary mission is to grow and develop their people, failing at feedback is a failure in leadership.

With this foundation and challenge, here’s my short and simple list of key growth opportunities in the area of feedback:

  • Do it consistently– Borrowing from Nike, just give it!
  • Do it in the moment– The best feedback is given in real time or on the fly. Give the feedback when everyone is present to the context and in the best place to hear the feedback with that context. Any delay in feedback typically diminishes the quality of the feedback.
  • Help people see what they cannot see themselves– One of the key values of feedback is helping people find and learn from their blind spots.
  • Be specific– If your feedback is not specific (whether it’s praise or constructive), then it’s worthless.
  • Make it actionable– If your feedback is not actionable or cannot be translated into action, then it’s not helpful. In fact, it’s actually a way of pretending to give feedback without really helping the other person.
  • Love them enough to be honest – Giving feedback is an act of love—of saying that you care enough about the other person to be honest with them.

There you have it – a simple, though perhaps challenging, list of key elements to enhance your leadership, your influence and your impact. And by the way – if you want to grow, then it’s important for you to surround yourself with people who will gift you with the same quantity and quality of feedback that you are giving.

Feedback is a gift that is given and received. It is essential for you to grow and for your people to grow. Feedback is also an investment in another person—an act of love with the potential to change everything. Are you ready? The time is now for feedback!

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