Feedback

by Paul Matthews

Seeking out feedback

Feedback is available all the time for those who crave learning and personal development. You just need to know where to look and what to do to get it. Make it a habit to seek out feedback every day, so that you can continue to learn, improve and progress.

Evaluate your work

Did your work get the desired outcome that you intended it to when you first started working on it? If not, why not? What did go well? What could you have done differently?

Spend time each day thinking about what you could have approached differently to improve the outcome of situations that you did not feel entirely satisfied with. Make a note of how you could do things differently next time, and try to implement that approach.

Paying attention to what you do and the outcomes that you get will move you a long way forward.

Pay attention to the behaviour of others

Much of the feedback that we receive is informal. It may be in a certain type of glance or facial expression. Or it could be in an off-hand comment made by somebody.

Start to become more aware of the behaviour of others around you and what their body language is telling you. A lot of feedback about your approach can be obtained from this source.

You may also want to consider what your facial expressions and casual comments say to others about what you think of their work or behaviour.

Request feedback

Some people either forget the importance of feedback or just don’t consider it to be important in the first place. Some people offer regular feedback, and others would offer it if asked. When considering who to ask, think carefully about where you can get the best quality feedback, but be realistic in your expectations. Not everyone has good feedback skills.

If you ask someone for feedback, you can gain their perspective on how you approached something and how you might do it differently/better next time. You could approach it like this:

Could we have ten minutes to talk about the report I prepared?

or

What did you notice that I could do better next time?

Be aware that some people might want time to think about the feedback that they want to give you. Don’t pressure them to give it to you on the spot, or it may not be as constructive as you might like.

When the person has given you the feedback, make it clear that you are very grateful for their efforts.

Senior executives

Some people are less likely to receive feedback because they appear to be unapproachable or ‘really important.’ However, everyone needs feedback to be able to improve what they do and progress.

If you are a senior person within a company, you may find it hard to get feedback from your team. Some people may feel fearful about giving you feedback. You will need to find a way to break down the barriers and let your team know that you appreciate feedback. Staff also need to know that you will take on the feedback that they provide, otherwise they may feel that they have put themselves ‘out there’ or ‘at risk’ for nothing.

Consider the feedback that you get. If you constantly receive feedback about the same aspect of your actions or behaviour, you will need to consider amending your approach to become more effective.