Safe to Give Feedback?
How is negative feedback given and/or received in your organization? Have you given the practice any thought? I read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about how to give and receive negative feedback.
The story centered around a manager named Rich, who, before asking his employees to fill out a feedback survey, predicted that he might get Ã¢ÂÂdingedÃ¢ÂÂ for being Ã¢ÂÂa control freak.Ã¢ÂÂ But when he got back feedback that said just that, he was devastated.
HBR concluded that it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt so much the comments Ã¢ÂÂ which were expected Ã¢ÂÂ as whether or not everyone involved felt Ã¢ÂÂsafe.Ã¢ÂÂ
The article pointed out that intent matters: because Rich Ã¢ÂÂbelieved his colleagues were trying to take him down,Ã¢ÂÂ he was more hurt. Ã¢ÂÂBefore sharing feedback, ensure that others understand your positive intentions in sharing it,Ã¢ÂÂ it suggests.
At the same time, HBR said itÃ¢ÂÂs up to Rich to Ã¢ÂÂbe curiousÃ¢ÂÂ: Ã¢ÂÂAct like a detective pursuing a mystery called Ã¢ÂÂI wonder why they feel that way?Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ Trying to understand othersÃ¢ÂÂ points of view is always helpful when it comes to evaluating criticism.
Is your institution a safe place to offer feedback? What can you do to make it safer? ItÃ¢ÂÂs something I ask myself as we deal with our own internal communications, and I work to keep improving the process.