Welcoming the Gift of Feedback

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FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have a broad range of panelists representing different educational and professional backgrounds and experience. They shared their thoughts on feedback warmly and openly.

It’s great when you give or receive good feedback for a job well done, and also great when you give or receive constructive feedback for a job which wasn’t well done. However, watch out when you’re getting good feedback for a mediocre effort – because the praise or award might not have meaning, AND the motivation to do better would suffer.

Watch also for the other type of error – when you get negative feedback for a job well done. If that happens, perhaps there’s a political motivation where someone wants to undermine someone else or take credit for their work. 

To mitigate these and other problems with feedback, ask questions and seek clarity so you understand what the feedback is, and what you can specifically do to improve.

It’s also important to understand the motivations of parties – the one giving and the one receiving the feedback. Once you understand the motivations, focus also on how to best communicate a constructive, productive message.

The focus must be on achieving measurable results, even if difficult and awkward conversations must take place. To give feedback well, be prepared with specific information and data to support the input. To receive feedback well, be open-minded and curious, while managing your own emotional reactions to the feedback.

Below is some specific advice around feedback.

  • Millennials seek feedback more often than those from other generations. They welcome templates and coaching and continuously strive to bring their best selves to work, which makes it easy to provide feedback in some ways. However, it can also be a problem when their over-eagerness or their focus on generating immediate results either brings mediocre results or offends others on the team with more experience. Respect is something that people of all generations seek, and feedback can help members of each generation be more respectful of those from other generations.
  • Providing feedback to men is different than providing feedback to women. Men tend to be more resilient, less sensitive, and have more vivid memories of the positive feedback over the negative feedback. Perhaps some women could learn from their more resilient example.
  • It’s a difficult situation when someone is using feedback to serve their own ends, rather than providing feedback as a gift to help someone else to grow. To help address this situation if it happens to you, seek independent parties who can help you understand the motivations and actions of all involved. Strategize on how best to address the core issue, even if it means having to leave the leader or the team.

The bottom line is that life is a journey, and feedback is a gift which helps make that journey more fulfilling, helping you become your best self. Be selective about who you include in that journey, and open enough to receive that feedback. Be resilient and courageous enough to receive and learn from difficult feedback, if it’s productive for your personal and professional growth.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at San Jose City College and our panelists for FountainBlue’s November 9 When She Speaks event, on the topic of ‘Welcoming the Gift of Feedback’

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Cynthia Dote, Director of Engineering, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Dana Gharda, Director, Global University Recruiting & Programs, Lam Research
  • Panelist Nivedita Ojha, Senior Director, Product Management, IoT, Mobile, Cloud, Citrix
  • Panelist Lena Tran, Ed.D., MBA, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Innovation, San Jose City College

See bios and invitation at https://www.tikkl.com/fountainblue/c/feedback

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