Feedback: Giving, Receiving and Seeking
This is a guest post by Ruma Dak *
Be it personal or professional life, we receive and give feedback more often than we realise! Like lot of other things, feedback can be very relative and it’s impact and effect depends a lot on perception. It wouldn’t be wrong if I say that most of the times, we do not know how to receive feedback in a positive manner and give feedback in a harmless way.
Let’s talk about giving feedback first. Focussing more on the professional side of things, feedback is an important tool/medium to let people know about their performance. The way feedback is given influences the benefit it can provide, if any. When you are a giver of feedback, the most important thing to remember is that feedback is about peoples’ action or work and not about their personal selves.
It can be very constructive if it is specific and delivered in a clear, concise and respectful manner. A feedback should be complete so it can deliver the intended message . BIPO model can be used to deliver a feedback, where BIPO stands for :
Behaviour: Explaining the behaviour for which the feedback is given for.
Impact: Impact that the above behaviour created.
Preferred Behaviour: What was the expected behaviour, this would generally differ from Behaviour in some way or other.
Outcome: What is expected after feedback is accepted and acted upon.
When giving a feedback, it is very important to provide an alternate to highlight the scope and benefit of improvement. Make sure your feedback motivates the receiver and not demoralise or insult him/her.
(the original photo is here: http://blog.aasaanjobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/feedback.jpg )
Receiving feedback is something not everyone is good at. It’ very easy to feel offended by a ‘not-so-positive’ feedback and take it very personally. When on the receiving end, one should be open, sincerely interested and accepting of the feedback. Listen to the feedback carefully and spend time analysing it if required. Feel free to ask questions, have a healthy discussion and take it as an opportunity to identify the ‘unknown’ about you and try to make the feedback work in your favour.
If the feedback is positive, try to set it as a standard for yourself and take negative feedback as constructive criticism. Be thankful to the person giving you the feedback always.
Seeking feedback: People often don’t realise that feedback can be explicitly asked for or they shy away from doing so! Seeking feedback fosters communication and makes people feel valued. It’s a good way of making people say things which they would not willingly do. When you try something new at work, ask people about how it was? Generally, in such cases, you will receive the response to be something like ‘Oh! you were great’ or ‘Yeah, pretty good’ . Ask people to point out at least two things which you can improve on or do slightly better. I have tried this myself so many times and its always helped me get some great ideas. Free-of-Cost! And when you seek a feedback, you are indirectly giving an implicit feedback that the person’s opinion is valued! How cool is that!!
Apart from the above, there will be times when you will receive unsolicited feedback out of the blues. Welcome it as well with open mind and try to make the most out of it!
So, whether you are giving, receiving or seeking feedback, be thoughtful, respectful and thankful. Lastly and very importantly, always prefer face-to-face communication while doing so.
Finishing off with a quote from Ann Marie Houghtailing:
Feedback is a free education to excellence. Seek it with sincerity and receive it with grace.
* Ruma is a tester-blogger friend based in Australia and blogs at http://rumadak.wordpress.com . She is an expert Tester, a bookworm, a traveler and also talks about life philosophy on her blog. Read more about her interests on her blog’s about page.