Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Positive Feedback

Giving and receiving positive feedback is one of the most powerful exercises a group could take part in. It's more than a 360 evaluation. It's face to face feedback from your peers and colleagues in a way that encourages honesty with respect; open communication with the opportunity to facilitate change. When you’re receiving feedback, you need to be accepting, even if you disagree or don’t immediately understand the comments. Reflect and incubate on it and then ask for clarification. If there is a breakdown in a team, then the only way to rectify and get past that is to communicate your needs in a positive, constructive way.

Asking for feedback and accepting it openly takes a great amount of humility. Sometimes it's hard to accept, and tells you as much about the people giving it as yourself. It can be done in many ways, but I prefer a facilitated meeting where the person receiving the feedback appoints a colleague to write down all the comments they're getting so they can look at it at a later time. They can reflect on it and then go back to that colleague to discuss what they said in greater detail. Just as powerful, is saying "thank you" after you've received it. It takes just as much courage to give feedback than it does to receive it....sometimes more.

It's not only telling your colleagues what it is you need from's asking how you can help them give it. When this is done from a basis of integrity, it's no longer threatening. It creates an immediate bond, a cohesive partnership whereas you not only draw from each other's strengths, but recognise weaknesses and jump in where others have difficulty. From this, instead of conflicting comes complimentary and taking, interacting and developing innovative ways to get past challenges.

It's not something that should be done once and forgotten. Rather a continuous process to be used whenever there's a breakdown of inter-personal communication.

As the saying goes, "Try'll like it". Clear the air and begin to build. One brick at a comment at a time.

Donna Karlin

No comments: