Make Informal Feedback A Positive Experience By Focusing On The Other Person’s Priorities
Remote or face-to-face
The dynamics of feedback are similar, whether you’re talking to people in person, on the phone, or in a Zoom or FaceTime interaction. Common themes: People avoid giving authentic feedback, people are nervous about receiving it, and both team leaders and team members have taken it off their to-do lists while workplaces were shaken up by the Pandemic.
Make a commitment to yourself: Start a feedback-friendly atmosphere
Start with yourself
Initiate healthy, helpful feedback to people you work with on a regular basis. Start out by sharing your own recent priorities and be open about what you are finding most challenging. Share what you think you need to do to improve and ask for the feedback and ideas. Listen deeply, pausing to take in their input before asking for more details and their suggestions. Relax, take notes, and be sure to thank them for their help.
Ask the other person
What work activities are their highest priority and what are they currently doing to meet the challenges? Again, listen deeply and pause before jumping in with advice. Helpful lines:
“Tell me more.”
“What’s the hardest part of that?”
“If anything were possible, what could do to address these challenges?”
Keep listening and make sure to compliment them on staying self-aware, addressing challenges and planning some improvements.
At the right time, make some suggestions
After you think they’ve expressed all they can about their highest one or two priorities, make a suggestion and ask for their input on it. Make several suggestions, making sure they’ve had the time and opportunity to hear and consider each one.
Suggest that both of you summarize what you’ve gotten from the mutual feedback
Starting with yourself, state in a few sentence your biggest takeaways from your chat with this person re: your own goals. Then ask them to summarize their takeaways. Suggest that both of you follow up with this discussion. Send an email or text to summarize what each of you concluded and commitments you made. Notice how surprisingly helpful and positive this conversation turned out to be!