Seven times in the past week, I had different leaders tell me they struggle with giving substantive feedback. 7 Times!
All said their organizations give training on how to deliver and receive feedback, but they don’t do it well. (For tips on receiving feedback, check out my recent blog on receiving feedback https://rosaliechamberlainconsulting.com/6-steps-to-receiving-feedback-with-grace/.)
Keep in mind someone has to give substantive feedback first, before the recipient can practice receiving it well! Quality feedback is the #1 Key to Professional Growth. What gets in the way?
Here are 7 common Feedback Blockers:
1. Too much focus on the difference!
You want something done right. Unfortunately, different often gets translated into the brain as something “wrong.” You’d think this could be an entryway to mentoring and development. You could be curious and ask questions, but it often leads to block #2…
2. Time constraints.
Being in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment is not a beneficial excuse for not giving critical feedback. Impatience is often a factor here. Also, not a valid reason. There will be less unproductive time in the long run when problems are addressed up front.
3. Ineffective and quick check-the-box comments like “Good Job!”
What benefit does someone get from feedback like that other than a quick, internal mini-celebration? What about it was good? What could be even better? Be specific.
4. Too much focus on opinions rather than facts.
We all have opinions and they may not be accurate in the total scheme of things. When evaluating someone’s work, focus on facts and constructive comments. I “just” don’t like the work product doesn’t do anyone any good.
5. Assumptions, Biases & Stereotypes get in the way.
Often those opinions that seemed so clear came from unconscious (and conscious) beliefs categorizing a person and “neatly” placing them in a box. It is tricky when it is out of your conscious awareness, but it is critical to figure out the judgment you place and your cognitive process.
6. One-time, you’re out.
This should never happen! It is imperative that leaders give substantive comments and a second chance. If you maintain a past-oriented mindset, your protégé may have a limited future.
7. Lack of confidence in someone’s abilities.
If young professionals are not given helpful information and development, how much improvement in their abilities can be expected? Growth and development have to start somewhere.
According to Anna Carroll’s book, The Feedback Imperative: How to Give Everyday Feedback to Speed Up Your Team’s Success, “Lack of feedback is the number-one reason for performance problems.”
Focus on the purpose of giving it. It is to improve quality. It is the key to a product’s or service’s effectiveness, which translates into satisfied clients and customers. No more excuses.