Face Your Fear of Feedback

Face Your Fear of Feedback

There is real hope for feedback if we can find the courage to practice it, leverage it and overcome the inclination to avoid it.  Feedback might be the most important communication skill according to Bob Dignen in his article titled, “Giving Effective Feedback is a Vital Part of Communication, Whether Inside or Outside the Boardroom or Classroom.”

Dignen explains that feedback is...

  1. There all the time
  2. Another word for effective listening
  3. An opportunity to motivate
  4. Essential to developing performance
  5. A way to keep learning

He argues that we give and receive feedback everyday…all the time!  Our casual conversations contain just as much feedback in our choice of words and tone of voice, as performance review conversations.  The act of recognizing success and offering words of praise is a form of feedback.  These words encourage more positive action and subsequently build trust and rapport.  And, as our workplaces continue to increase in gender, cultural and generational diversity, feedback allows the opportunity to bridge communication gaps by simply asking, “What can I do more of, and what can I stop doing, to help us communicate better?”

Why, then, is feedback not part of our daily interactions at work?

Thanh Nguyen of The Diversity and Inclusion office at UC Denver has a reputation as the “feedback queen” around campus.  It was her consistent feedback that earned her the title.  Here is what she had to say: “We are naturally hesitant to provide feedback for fear that others will react negatively or are unwilling to listen to what we have to tell them.  Many associate feedback as negative, but if done appropriately, it is a positive tool and enhancement for everyday life.”

How to Overcome Your Fear of Feedback 

Thanh explains: “To become better at what we do and how we live, we have to ask for feedback and utilize it in ways that will challenge us daily.  Without feedback, we become complacent and we do not grow as an individual.”

We must become comfortable with the uncomfortable and develop a feedback plan.  Start by balancing asking for feedback with giving it.  Model that feedback is okay for you in conversations.  Use your common sense when approaching feedback exchanges:  Are you in a good mood?  Is your feedback solution-oriented?  Does your feedback benefit you AND the other person?  We face challenges every day that call on our courage.  Our desire to become better must outweigh our fear of feedback.

Now what? Well, we have two options.

  1. Start Feedbacking…. Stat!
  2. If you’re still hankering for more, you’re in luck. Margie Mauldin, feedback expert and author of Feedback Revolution Building Relationships & Boosting Results, is hosting a book signing event February 12th at 7:00 pm. Send us an email if you would like to attend and pick up a copy to delve deeper into Feedback and all its potential!

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