The power of a feedback culture

Feedback is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. It provides valuable insights, helps identify blind spots, and enables people to enhance skills and performance. It is important to take a proactive approach by actively seeking feedback from others to accelerate a growth journey. 

Effective strategies for proactively seeking feedback include:

Creating an environment that fosters open communication and psychological safety. Establish trust and rapport with your colleagues, friends, or mentors by demonstrating active listening, respecting their opinions, and appreciating their contributions. Emphasize that feedback is an opportunity for growth, and you value their perspectives.

Clarifying your objectives and the specific areas you wish to improve. Whether it’s enhancing your public speaking skills, refining your leadership style, or becoming more effective in a particular domain, having clear goals will help guide the feedback you seek. By stating your intentions clearly, you will enable others to provide more targeted and actionable feedback.

Choosing feedback sources wisely. Seek input from individuals who have relevant expertise or experience in the area you want to develop. It could be a mentor, supervisor, colleague, or even a peer. Diverse perspectives can offer a well-rounded view of your strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, consider seeking feedback from different management levels, as insights from both superiors and subordinates can be invaluable.

Requesting feedback and asking thoughtful and specific questions that elicit meaningful responses. Avoid vague questions such as “What do you think of my performance?” Instead, ask focused questions such as “How can I enhance my presentation delivery?” or “What steps can I take to become a more effective team leader?” Thoughtful questions will prompt detailed and actionable feedback, enabling you to make tangible improvements.

Practicing active listening when receiving feedback. Maintain an open mind, suspend judgment, and be receptive to different viewpoints. Seek clarification if needed and refrain from becoming defensive. Reflect on the feedback received, analysing it objectively. Identify patterns and common themes that emerge from multiple sources to gain a holistic understanding of your strengths and areas that require development.

Identifying key takeaways and developing an action plan. Break down the feedback into actionable steps, setting measurable goals and timelines. Regularly track your progress to gauge improvement and adjust your approach accordingly. Share your progress with those who provided feedback, demonstrating your commitment to growth.

Lastly, express gratitude to those who took the time to provide feedback. Acknowledge their effort and the impact their insights have had on your development. A simple “thank you” can go a long way in nurturing relationships and encouraging future feedback.

One of the methods PotentialSquared uses for delivering feedback is the EEC feedback model otherwise known as Example-Effect-Change/Continue (EEC). It works like this:

  • Example: Start by giving an example of a certain behaviour or action
  • Effect: Explain the effect this action had
  • Change/Continue: Depending on whether the feedback is positive or negative, you can mention whether the recipient should continue what they are doing or whether they should change their behaviour in a certain way.

Rather than just explaining the past, this feedback model also focuses on the future. What should the recipient change to improve their behaviour, output, or work methods? Or perhaps they did a great job, and you want to let them know to keep working this way. Since you can use this model for both change and continuation, it is suited for both positive and negative feedback.

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