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Make Feedback Giving and Receiving a Positive Experience by Doing This

Mayank Dwivedi is a working professional, who is on a journey of personal wealth creation (and discovery).

Overall Video Course Rating

Five out of five.

The online video course: “Giving and Receiving feedback for Management and Leadership” is a small 1 hour video course that delivers on its goal - giving you tips and a framework to make the most of the career feedback process at the workplace. After taking this course, you will not fear career conversations, and instead start seeing them from a different, positive lens. The experience of the course narrator, and the simple frameworks and tips are effective, and stays with you after you finish this course.

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Who should take this course?

This course is for all working professionals who are either managers/leaders, or normal individual contributor employees. It enables you to convert feedback giving and receiving feedback into a positive learning session, and make the most of this mechanism of career advancement. I can extend this to say that this course will also help you in your personal life, while giving feedback to your spouse or kids. This course helps you remove anxiety from the process of feedback giving and receiving, and build the right mental model and guidelines to make this process effective for both the feedback giver and receiver.

My Top Three Learnings from the course

Learning 1: Feedback is all about making others more successful

I like how the course informs us of the positive impact of giving and receiving feedback. It frames feedback as a mechanism of helping others to be more successful in their career. By giving feedback with the right intention, feedback becomes an enabler. You make a person aware of the opportunities he can work to improve upon, and the strengths he should continue to hone. Given with the right intent, specific feedback is sure to provide a boost to skill development and career progression of a person. This section of the course changes the mental model I had of performance evaluation, work feedback etc. It made me see work related feedback in a positive light. The next time I have a 1:1 meeting with my manager, I sure will feel less anxious, maybe even look forward to the meeting :-).

Learning 2: The importance of Straight Talk

I, along with a segment of people I know or have worked with, try to find indirect ways to give feedback. I fear that direct feedback can hurt a person, or make the conversation negative, maybe even lead to an argument. The course busts this myth, and strongly advises to follow the technique called “Straight Talk”. This means to give honest, frank, easy to understand feedback. Masking the actual feedback may make it unlikely to be received, or in fact give the perception that you as a person talk in an indirect tone, not a trustful character perception to have. Using positive words, and specific examples are good ways to make the direct feedback effective, and avoid cases of argument. If your intention of enabling the other person receiving feedback is strongly embedded in your mind, your ‘Straight Talk’ feedback will have the right positive tone, and not hurt the other person’s feelings.

Learning 3: Seven Laws of Feedback

The narrator lays down seven laws of giving feedback, which are comprehensive. Three of these laws stood out to me. First one being “Immediacy” - which means to give feedback immediately. Delaying the feedback to the annual performance conversation is not a healthy tactic. Immediate feedback resonates well, and the recency makes the feedback more clear and relatable. Second one is “Factual” - feedback which is based on facts or examples that are clearer to understand and work upon. Vague feedback, which are based on opinions or emotions, is not helpful, and subjective. Facts or examples provide a baseline using which the feedback receiver can improve upon, and is expected to at least improve upon the behavior/output in similar situations going forward. Examples also help to drive feedback discussion forward, with open questions and clarification using the example as base: such as what could I have done better in that example. The third one being: “Praise in public, correct in private”- this may sound easy and common sense, but many managers forget this soft law time and again. You should not shut your mind to the positive side of work/output/meeting. Any work event has a positive side, and it is important to highlight it in public to improve morale and reinforce good behavior within your team/organization. However, corrective feedback should be given in private. Correcting in public is embarrassing to the other person, and can evoke a defensive reaction from that person. Even if you are annoyed by the behavior or output of the work from a team member, never berate in public. Try to use phrases such as “Let's discuss offline on this topic” if needed. Note down the example in your notebook to release the mental trigger to vent out immediately, and talk about the corrective feedback in your next 1:1 meeting with the team member.

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My ‘aha’ moment while taking this course

Almost every one who has worked in a professional environment would have gone through a process of feedback, either receiving or giving feedback. Even those who work as freelancers, or on a contract job, receive feedback for their work or project. Getting feedback used to send me into a defensive zone, where I think about how to contradict the feedback that I was being given. Similarly, when it was my turn to give feedback to my team member, I was hesitant in being direct thinking it might hurt the team member’s feelings or start an argument. This course changed my mental model, and helped me discover that receiving feedback is not a critique of your work, rather an improvement opportunity on the hard or soft skills. The narrator provides guidelines for giving and receiving feedback which helped me form the right mental model. The guidelines that stood out for me are to have the right mental model before giving or receiving feedback. Intention impacts your subconscious mind, which in turn decides the tone and the choice of words you use while giving or receiving feedback. If you have already formed your mind that the team-member cannot improve his/her performance, and you will have to let go of him/her, this will definitely reflect in the feedback meeting. It is imperative to have a positive mindset of enabling your team members while giving feedback, and believing that your manager is on your side when receiving feedback. This belief is the starting step of developing a constructive mindset, and accepting feedback giving/receiving sessions as an enabling experience.

What I liked about the course?

Like 1: Using simple to understand and retain frameworks

The instructor uses well known frameworks such as SMART goals in this course, as well as his own laws on giving effective feedback. Small tips help complete the process of feedback giving, such as closing the feedback by asking the person receiving feedback how does he/she think he can do on the feedback -> and the answer will always be better, as no one will say they would do worse going forward.

Like 2: Mapping effective feedback with the values of great managers

Have you come across workplace chit chat which talk about a manager who is always criticizing others, who is known for pulling his team members down, and finding fault with every project he reviews. These are signs of poor feedback etiquettes. The course instructor emphasizes that effective feedback follows six values of a great manager, and in turn reflects on the perception of the manager among his team and in the organization. Giving honest feedback reflects “Integrity”. Avoid boasting or talking in a bossy tone, and this reflects “humility”. Converting feedback into a coaching session shows “Caring”. Linking feedback with managerial values and perception elevates the importance of effective feedback communication. This indirectly impacts the positive energy in the team, and eventually in the organization. Collecting goodwill in every aspect of your career does add up. The next time you have to give a feedback, or receive one, see it as an opportunity to build trust with the other person.

What could have made this course even better?

Around 80% of the course is focused on effective way to give feedback, and only the last chapter is on receiving feedback. It would have been great to go into details of receiving feedback as well. Receiving feedback can get tricky, as the person receiving feedback can get defensive. Receiving feedback may give rise to new situations such as how to disagree with the feedback, how to explain a different point of view, how to receive the improvement part of the feedback. The one chapter does a decent job at providing a framework to receive feedback, however this framework is for the best case scenario - when both the feedback giver and receiver agree on the feedback and the feedback is given in a constructive way - this is more often than not the case.

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