November 2019
6 minutes

Give and take feedback

Feedback can help an executive learn from their employees how they perceive themselves and their leadership style. (Image: G-Stock Studio/shutterstock.com)
"The greatest art is: I tell a person how to see him without hurting him."

"Give and take feedback" can be found in all leadership programs. In contrast, implementation in practice is often not very consistent. But feedback is one of the most effective tools of leadership development. It is ideal for identifying one's own personality related and behavioral effects as well as critically questioning the effect of the leadership style – but also to appreciate. Prerequisite, however, is that feedback is applied correctly.

Feedback definition

  • The term "feedback" comes from cybernetics and means "the modification or control of a process or system by its results or effects".
  • Feedback thus complements one's own self-perception or self-assessment through objective external assessment and perception.
  • Feedback assesses and does not evaluate. Only the own subjective assessment is played back.
  • Who gives feedback, can tell the other how his behavior affects or arrives, how he or she assesses the situation or performance or which improvement potentials are recognized.
  • Used properly, feedback can be tremendously valuable, and in the workplace it is almost essential to evolve.
  • Feedback is not always welcome and needs rules and common understanding.

Feedback can help an executive learn from their employees how they perceive themselves and their leadership style. Such constructive criticism often does not apply in companies because it is rather uncomfortable for the participants to honestly and clearly address certain things concerning the behavior of their counterparts.

Without compliance with certain rules, feedback will be ineffective and may even have the opposite effect.

The golden rule is: Feedback is always a gift – and as with all gifts, the recipient decides whether to accept it or not! Last but not least, the effective implementation of feedback also depends on the respective corporate culture.

Rules for giving feedback

Feedback should be goal-oriented – only if there is a chance to learn from these mistakes in the future should it be given, it should be helpful.

To achieve this, a few principles must be observed:

  • Make for a quiet and pleasant conversation atmosphere.
  • Ask your counterpart if he is interested in receiving feedback from you.
  • Check the willingness of the recipient, the appropriateness and the timing.
  • Stay concrete. Give feedback as directly as possible.
  • Do not hide behind "one should" or "you should", but always formulate your feedback as an offer and in the first person perspective, e.g. "I had the impression ..., I have observed that ..., I displease ...".
  • Disconnect person and behavior (person is ok – but behavior was in need of improvement).
  • The feedback provider does not have the right to judge the person. What he perceives and can judge is the behavior shown in the particular situation.
  • Always start with the positive things, e.g. "I liked it ....".
  • Optional: Share your wish for the future.

Rules for accepting feedback

When accepting the feedback, the receiver is in a passive role, so “helplessly” exposed to the feedback.

Therefore, a few rules and tips for the feedback taker.

  • Consider feedback as a gift and opportunity for your personal development.
  • Keep in mind that every perception is always subjective, but you also receive additional information about how you are seen by others.
  • Listen actively and attentively and do not interrupt immediately.
  • Inquiries to make sure that you have understood your counterparts' statements are allowed.
  • Do not counteract at the touch of a button. Do not justify and defend your behavior immediately. Rather, consider later, to what extent the criticism was justified and what you want to accept and what not.
  • Do not consider feedback as a personal offense or measure.
  • Thank your feedback provider for his willingness to give you feedback.

Expand "your" arena!

Figure: The Johari Window (© 2019 Inspire – Manufacture your Business)

The Johari Window makes it clear that "giving and taking feedback" widens the arena between me and others.

This strengthens the relationship and the trust between people and leads to a we-feeling.

The personal responsibility and self-motivation of the employees are positively supported. The own behavior is reflected and even the professional and personal development can be promoted thereby.

Our mission at Evolutionizer is to support strategic management with innovative software.

Learn more here about our platform, Solyp 4.0 – Enterprise Cloud for Strategy, and how our technology can support you in the strategic decision-making process and implementation.

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