Feedback: The Storm Within Us

In my recent professional years, I have concentrated on receiving feedback to continue improving. My personal theory is centered on the fact that when a specific situation of my life put me in an uncomfortable place, at the end, the whole situation resulted in personal improvement.  There was during an improvised coaching session with a friend when I started referring to these uncomfortable situations as “personal storms”.  And it is during this so-called storms that I experienced all kinds of emotions inside of me.  This is a unique opportunity that life give us to embrace these emotions and start asking us the “why’s” and understand more about us and the origin of the storm.

Feedback often takes us to this “storm” mode that for most people can be unbearable. And why is that? There is a general tendency of associating feedback with criticism that is a general rule difficult to avoid for the single reason that feedback is not taught in schools (I wish it was).  It may sound as a cliché but the important thing about implementing a feedback culture in your team is that it starts with you.  Once you have this clear, there are a couple of pointers that I will share that may come in handy:

  • To build an atmosphere of trust at your feedback session always ask for feedback first instead of rushing to give it.
  • Relate first to a positive trait about the person and link it as a strong point that can generate confidence within this person to overcome a challenge. Usually, here is where we mention the improvement opportunity that we have seen in this person.
  • Do not expect to solve everything in one session. Is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Since feedback most of the time impacts ego, it get’s uncomfortable. People need to digest it and start opening as we have more sessions.
  • When you receive a feedback that you don’t agree with, say thank you, sleep on it and if you still disagree you have the option of looking for a second opinion from a trusted person. You will be amazed by the results.
  • You can always take the “everybody is wrong” position. However, you will still have a problem: Their perception.
  • Always take the time to present a brief plan to the person at the beginning of the feedback session that supports a closure where you both come out with a plan together.

Now, let’s go back to the “storm”. Do not miss any part of it.  You will survive it and will come out of it knowing more about yourself and how strong you can be.  Is our decision to make, we can choose to just “get wet” by the storm and feel sorry for ourselves or we can choose to “feel” the storm and understand why it affects us. Cheers!storm