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Feedback is a GIFT

 In Business decisions, Insights, Management, People decisions, Teams

Feedback is a GIFT – a tale of two halves.

Feedback can be a GIFT, or it can give you the HUMP

Feedback can be a GIFT, or it can give you the HUMP

At the end of last year, we here at Realizer ran a leadership retreat for a group of 9 in a mid-sized technology company. During the retreat, a piece of feedback was given from Adam to Brian (names changed). The content of the feedback isn’t important, but the effects of it were, at least on the day, markedly negative. Brian, the recipient, felt ambushed, surprised and also unclear about what the feedback meant.

What we see here a pattern you want to avoid in giving feedback. People get the HUMP, like Brian did, when it’s given like this:-

  • Hidden agenda
  • Uninvited
  • Muddy – i.e. unspecific, unclear
  • Pent up  – i.e. not timely

Fast forward two weeks to a different team-building retreat. We highlighted the power of feedback as a vital process to help others learn, develop and be their best self. To do this, we taught participants that feedback is a GIFT:

  • Generous, and genuine – this is the number 1 key to feedback, it has to be done from a place of kindness, trying to help the recipient improve
  • Invited – ask their permission before launching in
  • Focused on specific behaviours
  • Timely – not given in the heat of the moment, but ideally delivered within 24 hours

We had each participant fill in a GIFT card for 3 of their team mates, and then go and give them their gift and explain anything unclear. Far from being a negative experience, this was rated the best section of the whole day.

Sharing this simple approach to feedback took the experience from a highly negative one in the first example, to a highly positive one in the second example. I see it as a high-impact low-effort change you can make, and we at Realizer intend to bring this into more and more of our team-building work.

Written by Rob Pyne