We should frequently reflect on what we’ve achieved over the year, and one way of doing that is seeking feedback. Daunting and difficult yet vital for self-improvement, constructive feedback is far more valuable than any amount of self-evaluation. It undoubtedly brings about step changes in your working relationships and your performance.
There is a good practice approach for providing feedback. Balanced, observed feedback will focus on strengths and opportunities, not weaknesses and problems.
While I don’t generally focus on my own experiences, perhaps you will bear with me on this one. Feedback and personal development are an integral part of business improvement which has always been my career focus, so I could never escape it! As a result, I’ve gained some real insights along the way which I am happy to share in the hope it helps others.
- I started seriously seeking feedback from peers, customers and managers with some trepidation and was immediately astounded at how much effort people put into this for my benefit
- Based on observation and evidence, it immediately helped me counter anecdotal accounts and bias
- Although I knew the theory already, I had under-estimated how powerful it is to be aware of both my strengths and my opportunities, and I reviewed my style accordingly
- My Yorkshire roots still persuade me to call a spade a shovel at times, however feedback has helped me temper my characteristics, rather than drive them out
- Through feedback I’ve learnt to change my language and tone. By expressing my views a little more softly than I may actually be feeling, I get more, not less, of what I want
- By carefully balancing my straight-talking style and my collaborative values, I challenge and support in equal measure, which engages people in significant, lasting change
- Feedback has confirmed my specific skillset and approach to driving change, which has inspired me to be the facilitator of choice to guide people through their particular change maze
- After a while, it became less daunting to ask for feedback. As my approach improved, so too did my feedback.
If feedback is incorporated as part of a longer-term coaching or mentoring programme, it’s likely you will form close working relationships as you get to know each other, warts and all. I’ve certainly made good friends through seeking and receiving feedback, and am proud I dared myself to embark on this stretching, yet rewarding journey.
I hope I have inspired you to embrace such opportunities for self-development. It would be really good to hear how it has helped you.