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Professional feedback can strike fear into the heart of even the best employee. In fact, it receiving feedback can cause major anxiety.
However, feedback doesn’t always have to increase our stress level, nor does it have to be a negative experience. We can turn feedback into a positive experience with these six tips for giving and receiving feedback.
1. Giving Feedback
If we are in the role of giving feedback to others, we need to remember to create a safe environment so the feedback will be heard and acted upon. This safe environment can be created by providing constructive feedback in private, focusing on the facts, and staying positive.
2. Privacy First
No one wants to be given feedback when surrounded by peers. Try to give your feedback in a private place where you can speak openly. Feedback should be a two-way conversation where you work together to figure out how the employee can improve.
3. The Facts
Focus on the facts of the feedback, not on personal feelings. If you are giving someone feedback on their grammar in a written report, focus on the grammar, not on how you felt when reading the report. Present the feedback about the project or job, not about the person. This will help to ensure that the feedback is not taken personally.
Remember to balance your negative feedback with positive feedback. However, be wary of giving positive feedback, followed suddenly by negative feedback, and then followed-up with positive feedback. This “feedback sandwich” could shift the employee’s focus solely to the positive feedback. Be straightforward and always give positive feedback first before sharing your points for improvement and encouragement.
5. Receiving Feedback
The way we react to feedback determines our character in the eyes of others. When receiving feedback, do you get defensive and angry? Do you interpret feedback as personal and vindictive? If so, instead try to learn from the feedback. Take a moment to pause, thank the person, and then come back later if you have clarifying questions about his or her comments. Doing so will help you to grow both personally and professionally.
6. Analyze and Learn
Feedback is usually there to help us improve. Analyze the feedback you receive. After receiving some feedback, take a few moments (or longer) to critically and objectively look at the work you have been producing. See for yourself if the feedback is applicable. If it is, then apply it to your work. You and your work will benefit as you continue to improve.
Be grateful for the feedback you receive. If you never received feedback, you wouldn’t know how to get better and improve your skills.
Throughout your professional experiences, you will give and receive feedback. Learning how you can improve your feedback skills will give you success in the workplace and impact the quality of work you and others produce. At the end of the day, feedback is the first step to making your work (and often your life) better.