Adjust the Mindset

Communication is at the core of every personal and professional relationship. Giving and receiving feedback can be confusing and uncomfortable when communication – words, motives and intentions – are lost in translation.

Do you value continuous growth and improvement?

Do you want to work in an environment that values continuous growth and improvement?

If you are nodding “yes” to both of the questions, then think of feedback as a mechanism for clarification and continuity and less about correction. Business communications have evolved over the past several decades where feedback is being received with more offensiveness and confrontation than ever before. There are a number of societal influences there we’re not going into on this article. Part of the movement away from it’s original intent has been how it has been delivered, where it’s been delivered and what messages have been spoken and unspoken. Let’s start with what’s working. In which medium do you take feedback best:

Are you visual?

Do you need to read it in front of you on an email, a form or a document, etc. in order to digest it?

In person?

Do you actively engage during feedback session or do you prefer to sit and listen?

Adjusting mindset comes from an understanding of your needs because knowing how you best receive feedback means you can focus on the message, and not the messenger. Think of the football analogy where NFL players watch film to learn tendencies, patterns, etc What’s the point of watching the game tape, if you aren’t going to come up with new plays on offense and games and stunts on defense?

What’s your best and worst experience with feedback?

Who delivered it? What are your triggers – the word that makes you automatically defensive and sets you off? Is it helpful if you have a follow-up in a week, two weeks, a month? If you find yourself at the end of an email or meeting without a clear articulation of methods for improvement—then empower yourself to ask the question. (if you’re not sure what to ask, then there’s a guide at the end of this article). Here are some quick ideas:

Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve?

Is there someone in our office that excels in this area who I can talk to?

Are there other resources you’d recommend?

What professional development support exists for this skill?

It’s about communicating more often and solving problems together. It’s about reps – everything in life is about building muscle. Whether it’s a strategic initiative, change program or giving and receiving feedback, you need repetitions. The more you do something, the more you are exposed to it, the more you confront it—the less fearful you will be about it. If you’re not quite sure how to start the conversation, here’s some questions to get you going: Avoid asking: “What did you think?”

While it’s a well-intentioned question, it often leads to nebulous answers with no tangible action points for improvement. What area exists where I could have been more clear? Here’s another tactic. If you were me, what’s one thing you may have done differently? You’ll notice, the person receiving the feedback is driving the dialog. If you’re not getting valuable feedback, then recognize it’s your responsibility to go after it so you can become your best – whether that’s in your current role or with another organization. I’m a Brene Brown fan and below is a piece from her latest book Dare to Lead.

All of us want to know how we’re performing relative to our potential. And we know, positive feedback is generally more well received than negative feedback. So, how can you deliver feedback that identifies and addresses any short-comings while coaching up and encouraging someone. Be the Elegant Leader and share with your people by asking them, how can we do better as we put our heads together to bring the expected result to fruition?

Can you recall the days when you received a “poop sandwich?” Someone you work with or for tells you, “…you did a great job, but…” You immediately forget everything that was said prior to the but and frankly you think the person who imparted their feedback on you is a butt!

Here’a an excerpt from our Elegant Leaders Advantage series on feedback and you can use it to craft your own method. Do your best to fill in the blanks.

However, we all need clear and concise feedback on what went ______________________, [kleo_gap size=”12px” class=”” id=””] what didn’t and what __________________________ we have learned. [kleo_gap size=”12px” class=”” id=””]

It’s important to be prepared in case you need to hear things you weren’t expecting to hear. Here’s what’s important to remember:

Treat feedback as a ________________________________. Be grateful. People are giving you advice and counsel about how to be more successful.

Your role is not your _________________________________. Often, we confuse our role in an organization with who we are as a person. You are not your job so there’s no need to get defensive. Feedback is about role performance. [kleo_gap size=”12px” class=”” id=””]

It’s not about _______________________ or  _________________________. It’s about receiving data and not an argument or an emotional event. Relax. [kleo_gap size=”12px” class=”” id=””]

Direct the advice so it ____________________________________ you. Ask for specific examples to understand what their basis is and what they’re trying to tell you. It’s not to debate or argue. You’re listening for specific behaviors, attitudes and metrics to help you become more successful. Ask, what would you like to see instead of what they are seeing

Where appropriate, make _______________________________. Apologize and commit to being better. Communication is what separated us from the dinosaurs. It’s important to keep it simple – clear, concise and compelling – so it becomes practical and powerful moving forward professionally and personally.

Elegant Leaders with Voltage understand the critical nature of feedback as part of keeping organizations moving forward. If you’re looking to improve the communication and engagement of your team, elevate their performance or that of your own, than getting better results with your feedback discussions is a good next step. Here’s several resources you find of value in your leadership journey:

The Elegant Leaders Advantage workbook, or consider enrolling in the course as 2 spots remain open.

7-Steps to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage – this is where it all begins

Influencing Culture – how to accelerate your team with influence and impact



answers to feedback blanks:  well, insights or next steps; gift; identity; right, wrong; helps; amends. If you decide you’d like to bounce ideas for a few minutes or challenge what your next steps may be, then access my private calendar for a no cost, no obligation or sales pitch dialog, here.

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