The Right Feedback Matters

November 16, 2022

The Right Feedback Matters

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” — Elon Musk

In all our interactions, we always give and receive feedback. In fact, it is impossible not to give one. Body language, facial expressions, and verbal and nonverbal responses are all forms of feedback that we always receive and keep an eye out for. They serve as cues for us that what we are doing is effective and that we are getting the right message across.

It serves as a wealth of information that we can utilize to keep on improving what we do. And in life, as in business, continuous development is important for success.

However, feedback can feel a bit awkward and difficult to give when we are asked. And sometimes, no matter how open we are to constructive criticism, it can still feel hard to receive negative feedback with grace as well. It makes us feel less-than-perfect, and it still hurts to know when we were wrong or ineffective.

That’s okay. Growth is meant to be uncomfortable. Soil needs to be disturbed and turned in order for the seeds we plant to grow better. We can be more open to feedback, especially constructive feedback, if we give ourselves time to look over our work before asking for or getting feedback from others. If a critique is something we’ve already caught on to ourselves, it is often easier to hear it from others. It also helps us be more critical in our thinking and more self-aware.

Why does giving and receiving the right feedback matter?

Humans are not wired to be alone. We thrive and learn better when we get input from others and the world around us. Hearing ideas different from the ones we have expands our way of thinking. It helps battle denial of crucial truths and flaws we have, breaks the mindset of “I can do it better on my own,” and sheds light on disguised ignorance. After all, we are limited in what we can know with just our own perspectives.

It also sheds light on poor teaching and learning skills and helps us work on how to become more effective communicators. Good communication is key to better relationships, and an open give-and-take of feedback allows us to build deeper trust and respect with others.

This applies to both personal and professional aspects and is particularly important in business teams who have to collaborate. Bringing together people from different backgrounds and with different strengths and weaknesses are sure to cause friction. If giving feedback isn’t something that is encouraged in your culture, the small things can build up over time and can cause bigger workplace conflicts.

Those are better addressed early, and can in fact be dealt with before they escalate, if only they could be brought up in a safe and professional space.

When feedback is positive, it allows us to celebrate small and big wins and give recognition where it is due—and everyone wants to be recognized properly for their efforts.

A healthy feedback loop needs to be strategic and reciprocal. When done right, engagement is improved and relationships are strengthened, creating a positive impact on productivity and teamwork. It also makes people feel better about their team and makes them more loyal, especially when leaders take part in the feedback loop.

Feedback is a source of valuable information that you can use to improve strategies and make better-informed business (and personal) decisions. And it contributes a lot to your personal and professional development. It helps you gauge points of improvement and stretches you as a person. It allows you to see yourself from other people’s perspectives and challenge some of your beliefs about yourself and your current progress.

As Perry Holley said, “The net result of great feedback is improved performance.”

How can we give the right feedback?

When giving feedback, especially in a workplace setting, it is difficult to not get personal about it. However, we can still provide positive and constructive feedback that is well-received and effective. We just need to have the right mindset about it.

Always ask yourself, "What is the intent behind this feedback?" Ideally, it should be to help others become better. I am big on leading with kindness, and to me, kind feedback looks like this: I care about you and paid attention to your efforts. These are the things that you did well, and I was impressed. These are things that you can do better. I want to help you be better.

If you’ve built trust with these people, they will trust your intent. And they’ll be more receptive to your input. If you welcome their feedback as well, they will feel like their voice is being heard and their opinions carry weight. It encourages them to speak up and be open to receiving input as well.

Make sure to also keep your feedback descriptive and objective. Focus on specific behaviors and actions and provide details when you can. You can also provide suggestions or resources that might help in learning something new or improving a skill.

This removes personal bias and emotional judgments from constructive feedback, making it more objective. The details also help give specific guidance on what they can do to work on it.

As leaders, building a culture that encourages a feedback loop is essential. Feedback is proof that someone cares enough to pay attention to what we say and do. No feedback is also feedback, and it speaks volumes about our impact and effectiveness.

It gives us crucial insights into our skills and helps us define and stretch our boundaries for our interactions with others. It helps us learn and improve, and is important in making informed decisions.

Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe.