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The Importance of feedback skills

25. 10. 2022

Does the phrase feedback scare you? Although many managers have feedback ingrained as a legitimate negative, it doesn't have to be. Working with feedback is incredibly important. It moves you in the right direction toward your stated goals. And that's where you should keep your focus.

I remember myself getting goosebumps at the mention of six-month performance reviews. But now I see it as an opportunity. To grow, as a manager, as a person, or as a supervisor to my departmental colleagues. Long gone are the nervousness and sweaty hands. 

How did I get to this point? And what helped me learn to give feedback but also to receive it? 

Feedback is not your enemy

At the outset, it's good to remember that feedback doesn't necessarily have to be negative. It often goes in a positive direction, helping you. 

I like to prepare my swot analysis before every performance review. It is helping me sort out my thoughts and pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses. And that's whether it's about specific job tasks or my personality traits.

Swot analysis is a great tool that can help you tremendously. In a nutshell, it is a tool where you focus on four sections:

 

  • weaknesses
  • strengths
  • Opportunities 
  • threats

 

In some cases, the sections may overlap slightly. Here is an example. You are aware that your strength is empathy. At the same time, you feel that you can empathize with others very easily. It may seem like a weakness or a threat to you (or your supervisor). Once you're in an annual sitting, it's good to come prepared, and a swot analysis can serve you very well.

Giving feedback

What to look for when my supervisor gives me feedback?

 

  1. Try not to "talk back" and go into (natural) defensive mode. Be open to differing opinions and listen. Think about whether your boss is right when she or he says you have trouble delegating work or communicating individual tasks. Is there anything I can do to improve this? How can I work on it and improve?
  2. Do you feel unsure what the main message should have been? Make sure you understand what the upcoming expectations are. 
  3. Learn to accept praise. If you did well on a project and your supervisor praises you, take it. You spent a lot of time on the task, and this is your reward (besides your paycheck, of course :)).
  4. Discuss your expectations for continuing in your current position. Don't forget to ask what could have been done differently (maybe better) and what you can do accordingly.

 

Now imagine that you are the one sitting on the other side. That is, on the side of the person who is about to give feedback to a subordinate. What should you focus on so that the feedback is constructive and the person across from you benefits from it? 

 

  1. Be specific, and be sure to mention specific instances and facts.
  2. Focus primarily on your subordinate's work behavior and not on their personality. Bias is not appropriate.
  3. Always try to balance the negatives and positives. You don't want to demotivate the person across from you but rather push them to improve.

 

Constructive feedback is part of the work process. During your career, you will most likely come across different interpretations of it. But remember one thing. It is massively helpful on your journey through your career and work habits. 

So, are you feeling any better? Hopefully, you won't sweat so much on your upcoming performance review, and our tips will help.

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