In sport, we crave feedback. Athletes listen intently to their coach and trawl through video footage (often in slo-mo) looking for the smallest possible area for improvement.
You see, feedback is considered a gift - without it, you can't grow and achieve your goals. Coaches also seek feedback, from their peer group as well as their athletes - without it, they can't grow and become a master of their craft!
In business, colleagues often shy away from providing constructive feedback, because they find the process uncomfortable. Yet most professionals say they desire more feedback and that leaders don't ask for feedback often enough!
So let's take the discomfort out of asking for or giving feedback, with these 4 simple steps:
Open the space and make it safe to give or receive feedback. Ask someone if they could 'give you the gift of constructive feedback, so you can be better at what you do'. Let them know that you are 'interested in hearing about any strengths or areas for improvement and would love any examples they can provide'.
Prepare constructive feedback with a positive intention and clear examples. In a nutshell - cite a situational example, share the behaviours you observed, then outline the resulting impact. Be sure to prepare tactically and emotionally for the conversation, and the various ways it could play out.
Balance your positive and constructive feedback. If you have some advice, lead with 'what I loved was XYZ and what might help in similar situations is ABC'. Even better, ask curious questions about the situation you observed, such as 'what was the impact you were hoping for?' and then support the person through brainstorming alternative ways to achieve a better outcome. Wherever possible, keep the conversation focused on skills and capabilities, as opposed to personality traits.
Always acknowledge and thank someone for their vulnerability and courage in either sharing or listening to feedback. Whether the feedback was easy or hard to give or hear, we can still show gratitude for the time and positive intentions of the person sharing the feedback, as well as the genuine desire of the recipient to want to learn and grow. If things become a little uncomfortable, remind yourself that you are OK and can do 'discomfort'. Breath slowly, avoid becoming defensive and remain sincere.
Of course the feedback itself is a huge gift, but the trust and deeper relationship created through this process is an even bigger one! See if you can invite someone to give you feedback this week, or ask someone if they'd be keen to receive some.
Let me know how it goes, and if you want a few more tips, download my Performance Starter Kit here
If you enjoyed this article, please pay it forward by sharing it with someone who would benefit! You might also like to grab Alisa's FREE Performance Starter Kit to utilise some powerful resilience, wellbeing and performance resources. And, if you'd like more of Alisa's positive energy and practical expertise, book her as your next In-Person/Virtual Keynote Speaker!