How to Give and Receive Feedback
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard, author and consultant
Knowing how to give and receive feedback not only helps you create a more positive and productive work environment for your team, this critically important leadership skill also helps build strong relationships with customers.
While it may seem easier to give than receive feedback, both require skill and practice. In both situations, tone, facial expression, and body language significantly influence communication of feedback. You want to be just as gracious giving as receiving feedback.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can improve feedback experiences for you, your employees and your customers.
Create a work environment where feedback is welcome
As the leader, demonstrate your openness to feedback by asking team members for their opinions on your ideas and what you are doing. Communicate to employees that it’s acceptable to give feedback appropriately, and provide training if needed.
Listen with 100% attention
When receiving feedback, demonstrate your appreciation by paying full attention to the conversation. Be sure to avoid interrupting or defending yourself. You don’t have to commit to making the suggested change, but you can commit to listening.
Speak with respect
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of feedback, remember that the intent of giving feedback is positive change.
If you say you’ll consider the input, follow up by communicating your decision, whether or not you agree. When you’ll do it, be sure you do.
Create opportunities for employees and customers to provide feedback
Recognize that others may feel reluctant or hesitate to speak up. Create an online form, a suggestion box or schedule an employee one-on-one, or a customer follow-up may create just the opening they need to tell you how you can improve what you do.
Don’t make it personal or take it personally
When giving feedback, focus on the specific result of the situation. Don’t assume you know the intent or who is responsible. Make your comments relevant by being timely. It’s not constructive to bring up something that occurred months ago – the recipient will wonder why you didn’t mention it earlier and give them the opportunity to modify their behavior.
As a business owner, it’s hard to separate your business from yourself, but the feedback you receive is about the work, not you. Getting defensive, trying to justify why you did what you did, and blaming others all demonstrate that you’re unwilling to accept feedback.
Remember, feedback is a gift that leads to the continual improvement of your business. As with all gifts, thank the giver.
If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk: