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Feedback That Works

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Who likes receiving feedback?


Well, we all know that we should welcome feedback. It can help our performance at work, improve our relationships, and move us more steadily toward our goals.


A client recently shared with me, “I want to be more sensitive to how I come across in meetings, but what I really don’t want is to feel like I am walking on eggshells. I don’t want to be criticized left and right.”


Sound familiar?


Some of us balk at giving too much feedback because it can create a work culture that is overly critical.


However, too little feedback isn’t helpful either. Without a clear invitation to give feedback, our colleagues will offer positive appraisal instead of a perspective that is helpful. “That presentation was great!” they might say, instead giving you a suggestion about a design template that will make your PowerPoint pop. (This tendency has a term, called the “Mum Effect” or Minimizing Unpleasant Message.)


The idea of feedback is a noble one, but for it to be effective it needs to be both invited and delivered in a way that can be heard.


Tasha Eurich, author of Insight: The surprising truth about how others see us, how we see ourselves, and why the answers matter more than we think, has wise guidance for how to solicit feedback in a way that is easy to give and open to being received.


She suggests we each find a small circle of what she calls, loving critics. These are people who have both your best interest at heart (they want you to succeed) and can be critical. After you identify them, think of one concrete goal you have and ask them to check in with you every 30 days or so, with specific feedback related to that goal. Ideally, your “loving critic” will see you in the role connected to the area you want to improve. That is - if you want to be more assertive at meetings, your loving critique will be a colleague who sits in a lot of meetings with you. Or if you want to do a better job pitching projects at funder/ investor meetings, choose a loving critique who is on your board committee and sits in on those meetings with you.


When you meet with your loving critique ask them what they noticed and any advice they have for improving over the next month.


What I love about Tasha Eurich’s approach is that it takes the sting out of feedback as something we passively receive and puts us in the drivers’ seat. It also strengthens our relationships in the workplace and cultivates a culture of generosity (inviting people into your professional growth can be transformative).


What I love most, is that it keeps us accountable and recognizes that all personal change happens slowly and incrementally.


Read the full article on Medium.com here.


Personal growth is too hard to go at alone. We all need someone by our side, as a critical partner, walking the path with us.


With Rosh Hashanah around the corner, I am wishing you warm wishes for a new year of expanded self-understanding and interpersonal growth.


Warmly,


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