2.11.2011

Receiving Effective Feedback

I recently had a conversation with change management expert Rick Maurer, who recently published a second edition of his best-selling book, Feedback Toolkit: 16 Tools for Better Communication in the Workplace. While we agreed that feedback is essential at work, I stated that many would say that they don’t receive effective feedback. I asked Rick to offer his opinion on why many employees feel this way. Here is his response:

"Feedback can mess with our self-image. In spite of what we say, most of us don’t want people telling us that we fell short or are doing something the wrong way. So, we set up mechanisms to protect ourselves from hearing anything that might disrupt our fragile view of who we are. For example, we surround ourselves with the proverbial yes-men and yes-women or we send mixed messages. The movie model, Samuel Goldwyn, once said 'I want people to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.' Wise employees understood which part of the message to heed.

If we want a workplace where colleagues give us feedback, then we must do things that assure people we truly want to hear from them. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Only ask for feedback if you are willing to hear what others have to say. Otherwise, you are setting them and yourself up for a very uncomfortable exchange.
  • The only appropriate response to feedback is 'thank you.' Of course you can ask questions of clarification, but don’t make excuses or explain your reasons for doing something.
  • Make it easy for others to give you feedback. Jack was a client of mine who asked people to anonymously write reactions to a new management initiative on index cards and submit them to his secretary. At the all-hands meeting, he first said 'thank you.' And then he picked up that large stack of cards and responded to questions and comments. He did not defend himself. He took responsibility for his actions and decisions, and used their feedback to engage them in a conversation about what comes next.
  • Jack found a way that made it easy for him to take in what others had to say. Note that he did not ask for comments during the meeting. He knew that he might hear something that would cause him to go ballistic, and that would end the meeting. . Getting comments before the meeting gave him time to react privately before he met with the team."

What are your thoughts on Rick's comments? Does your workplace environment foster true communication or is it merely an exercise?

21 comments:

MyATM said...

Awesome website here. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Cheers!

Dean Bliss said...

Good stuff. In my opinion, we need more discussion on these "softer" issues and less on the mechanics of the Lean tools.

John said...

From a manufacturing standpoint (which could apply to any type of industry)the best "tool" for employee suggestions and getting an appropriate response is a "Control Board" or "Kaizen Post" in each functional area of the factory. Any employee in the area can go to the board or post and jot down a suggestion or problem affectimg thier work or the plant's throughout. Someone in management is automatically assigned responsibility for the thought or idea and must provide adequate feedback directly to the employee involved, as well noting progress on the control board against the agreed upon action or solution taken. It's something that's out in front of everyone and serves to strongly encourage (in fact, demand) appropriate attention on employee related thoughts and suggestions.

Rick Maurer said...

John - I like your reminder about how suggestions and reactions get handled in manufacturing environment. I'll add to that, the entire visual workplace concept is a great way for teams to know where they stand with regard to performance (and quality) goals.

And Dean, not sure if we need less emphasis on Lean tools, but I agree that the "softer skills" can get lost. I am delighted when organizations realize that the so-called soft stuff is what allows Lean tools to work.

removing skin moles said...

Lot of discussions is what we need and we surely are going to get some.

law firm Reno said...

This is really something very special and interesting. Hopefully I can really learn so much from this valuable information. Thank you for providing such a useful information.

removeskintags.com said...

There is a lot to learn from this post.The quality of information you have provided is really appreciable.

lichen planus treatment said...

Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I appreciate with this and if you have some more information please share it with me.

mole removal on face said...

I completely agree with you that its very important to get the feedback from the employees.Thanks for sharing the tips for getting the effective feedback.

hepatitis c treatments said...

I completely agree with you that its important to get the effective feedback from the employees.This helps to build strong employer employee relationship.

customized poker cards said...

Feedback is very important it is a kind of response form listeners which tells the speaker or trainer whether to improve them in certain area or they are excellent in everything. Feedback can be both positive or negative.

allergy treatment said...

It is very necessary to get feedback so that we can take necessary actions to meet the viewers need.

Andrew Luce said...

i appreciate your bolg Higher Education Help

Simon Thompson said...

I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.
http://www.assignmentconsultants.com/a-graduate-talks-about-essay-writing-tips/

Anonymous said...

This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see.Good post with useful tips and ideas.http://www.princetonhome.org |

http://www.nesaahome.org |

http://www.masonryhomes.org |

http://www.auntannshomecare.org |

http://www.betterathomedc.org |

http://www.dornhomes.org |

http://www.homefixcorporation.org |

http://www.trianglehomestour.org |

http://www.life-flexhome.org |

http://www.richmondhomevalues.org |

Harry morgan said...

hmm thanks for sharing paper writing help

Jason Fernandez said...

Your post helps me to complete my assignment writing projects of university. Thanks for assisting me.. cheap essay writer service

alat bantu sex said...

teri love of comrades on the information that you make this, I sukali our greetings.
by toko alat bantu sex.
Alat bantu wanita, Alat vital karet mainan sex
Vibrator lipstik, Perangsang birahi wanita
Sex toy, Vibrator penggeli puting payudara
Happy some, Dildo getar, alat bantu sex wanita
Alat bantu sex, Penis tempel pompa, Alat sex wanita

addysmith92 said...

macro in office sucks.. really fun, and huge work you have done. nice done
mrtechstreet |

http://www.3ghomezone.com |

http://www.r2automation.com |

www.homewardboundnews.com |

autowhizal1.com |

addysmith92 said...

Hi Krishnan, that’s great! I’ve never cited Tolkein beofre but that fits perfectly in the case of ‘…but some of my best friends are’.
www.nashvillehomeportal.com |

autowhizal1.com |

r2automation.com |

gatewaycanyonairtour |

tour4peace |

addysmith92 said...

Wow, this post is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing these things, so I am going to tell her.
http://www.ahome4hope.com |

http://www.bim-technologies.com |

http://www.seattletravelmom.com |

http://www.titan-automation.com |

www.juliesphototours.com |