Today, we're tackling a topic that affects all of us. Feedback. We all know how crucial feedback is for improving performance, aligning expectations, and boosting our own success. But let's face it, sometimes feedback just doesn't work as well as we'd hope. Did you know that less than 40 percent of managers complete thorough and timely performance appraisals?
And more than 50 percent of employees consider their recent reviews either unfair or inaccurate. Based on those numbers alone, it's pretty clear that many teams and organizations struggle with effective feedback processes. But fear not, because we've got some valuable insights that we can share. This is the Practice and Leader Podcast.
I'm your host, Parul Bhargava, and let's discuss.
This episode will be focused on how to receive feedback. For more information about giving feedback, I have queued up the other video I have about providing feedback at the end of this one. First things first, let's understand why receiving feedback can be so challenging. Fundamentally, at its core, it is a tension between two needs.
The need to learn and grow, and the need to be accepted just as we are. Even a seemingly harmless suggestion can leave us feeling angry, anxious, or even threatened. Those disclaimers or caveats like, don't take this personally, doesn't soften the blow, but in some cases raise the stakes of the conversation because people then become defensive.
You hear those words and your internal shields automatically go up. But don't worry, there's hope. We've identified three primary factors which influence our reactions to feedback. Veracity, affinity, and identity. By understanding these factors, we can either better navigate our emotional response or at least have a better understanding of why we're responding the way we are.
Veracity focuses on what's being said and your judgment of whether the conclusion or observation holds merit or is true. An example of this would be, someone provides you feedback about what they think you said, and you're like, I didn't say that, I said this instead, and you're now questioning what it is that they're saying.
And then, effectively, decreasing the weight of the feedback that they're trying to provide you. Because what will often happen is, we will often judge ourselves by our intent, but judge others by their behavior. And we may not have intended for someone to take that that way. However, that's how they heard it.
That perception of what they heard is the important element here. Affinity focuses on who is providing the feedback. This is a correlation between how much weight is provided to the feedback based on whether you are close to someone or not close to someone. For example, if somebody only talks to you once in a quarter, you're likely not going to think of their feedback as strongly as somebody that you work with on a day to day basis.
And the last one, identity, focuses on whether you perceive the feedback that you're being provided as being representative of who you are. This factor can be a tough one, as it eventually causes you to re evaluate both the scenario, the feedback, and how you perceive it. But unfortunately, in the short term, it can cause you to be defensive or even be overwhelmed when you actually hear it for the first time.
As an example, when I received the feedback, Hey, I voted you off the island! I can tell you that, you know what, uh, I, I didn't take that so well. It was important for me to be able to figure out, okay, how do I get past that initial emotional reaction? And then ask the next question of, hey, can I get some more information about what is it that you're talking about?
Now we're going to jump into something practical. We've got some powerful tips to help you become an adept at receiving feedback. First off, you need to understand your own behavioral tendencies. We all react differently to feedback. So recognizing your own patterns is a key here. You know, are you defensive?
Are you argumentative? Maybe become teary eyed, understanding how you'll respond will actually empower you to be able to make better choices. Next up, we need to be able to differentiate between the message and the messenger. This is where the statement of don't shoot the messenger comes from. Feedback shouldn't depend on who delivered it.
But unfortunately, it does. Separating the feedback from the personal biases is a crucial step for growth. Do you initially dismiss feedback from your subordinates or from people that don't reach out to you often? By recognizing the bias, you can become capable of making positive changes in yourself.
This is where you need to look at the actual message that's being provided to you and see, that's really, really good feedback. Can I hear that and then can I take action on that? By recognizing that bias, you can become capable of making positive changes in yourself. Next. Feedback can come in two different formats.
One that's more about evaluation, whereas another is about coaching evaluations, like, you know what, at the end of the year, you get a review score, you get some sort of final feedback, you get some final is what your final review looks like that's one side of it. The other side is about coaching. Feedback can be both of these and they're both important.
However, what I would suggest is focusing on the coaching over evaluation. By embracing coaching feedback, we can open ourselves up to growth and play at a higher level as a result. This is where, when we hear things that are being provided to us as feedback and we're able to make those changes in small, subtle ways, we're then able to deliver at a higher level.
Next up, be proactive and ask for specific feedback. You know, it's very easy to say, hey, do you have any feedback for me? Instead, think about a scenario which you recently interacted with this individual or individuals and say, could you tell me one thing you think I could improve on? This will help target the type of feedback that they'll provide you, as well as make it something that's specific that you can take action against.
This focused approach can give you a, give you the concrete information you need that you can also act on. It's too easy for someone to say, Hey, you did a good job, but you doing a good job doesn't actually tell you what you did well. Getting the specific behaviors you exhibited that actually were good or bad will help you be able to change the behavior either to do it more or do it less accordingly.
And then finally, embrace curiosity and experimentation. Once you receive feedback, Test it out and try it on for size. Think of it like a t shirt. Even if you have doubts, having small experiments can reveal valuable insights. Make a small change. See how it actually impacts your relationship and conversations with others.
See what your behavior now does that helps you be able to deliver higher quality work. Treat all feedback as an opportunity to be able to learn and adapt. There's a roadmap for how do you become an adept at receiving feedback. Understand that not everyone will be able to provide you feedback in the precise form that you'll want to hear it.
So you'll have to be able to do your best to grow to be able to extract the information that you need and listen to the criticism and then take them and make them things that are valuable to you. So you can make behavioral change for yourself. Go ahead and seek out any sort of advice or coaching, but this way you're going and taking whatever proactive steps that you can on your own.
This is where you can take control of your own development and embrace the feedback as a catalyst for growth.