Feedback; It’s a gift, you choose what to do with it…….

December 30th, 2010 by Martin Smith Leave a reply »

Feedback its a gift, you choose what to do with it

Let me start this blog with a bit of a story (just bear with me here)……

A few years ago we were on holiday with some friends who had a young son and to keep him occupied they had brought along a kit for him to make bracelets. One quiet afternoon he decided to make everyone a friendship bracelet. He spent ages selecting the materials, choosing the design and then making each one. He then took great pride and pleasure in giving each of us our own individual bracelets. Whilst it was a lovely idea, with lots of thought, care and attention going into the making of it, the skills didn’t quite match up to the intention and well… it wasn’t the best bracelet that I have ever seen. However the thought behind it was wonderful and meant a lot to me. Here was someone who had taken the time effort and trouble to think about, make and give me something.

I hold the view that feedback is like my bracelet -the person giving the feedback will have spent time, energy and given some thought to the feedback they want to give you and will why they want to give it to you. It is my belief that very few people set out with the intention of upsetting others and it is therefore likely that they will also have your interests at heart, especially if they know you well and care about you as a friend and / or colleague.

Feedback is a way to let people know how effective they are in what they are trying to accomplish, or how they impact or affect you. It provides a way for us to learn and understand how we impact on those around us and it helps us to become more effective. There may be a difference between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us; if there is, getting feedback will enable us to narrow that gap. Of course, there are two sides to feedback: giving it, and receiving it.

Some people hold the view that feedback is just criticism and therefore don’t like or want to hear it. Others have a more extreme view and see it as spiritually crushing; a confirmation of their worthlessness, if you like. Some others only want to hear praise, but nothing that might suggest imperfection or a need to change.

Of course, that’s not the case for everyone. Many people are willing to accept feedback and some even seek it out, even if it is sometimes disturbing, largely because they believe they can grow from it and become more effective.

I guess that it comes down to whether you believe feedback will harm you or benefit you, I’m firmly in the court of the latter.  That’s not to say that we should always have to accept feedback or the manner in which it is sometimes given. We all have the right to refuse feedback, and we should expect feedback to be given in a respectful and supportive manner. But let’s also not forget that we have a choice about the feedback we receive, the choice about what to do with it and whether or not to take any action at all. As the anonymous quote below says…..

Feedback quote

My suggestion would be to think carefully about the gifts of feedback that you give and about how and where you deliver them and, for those receiving gifts of feedback, be grateful to the giver, if you’re not, they may not bother next time and you could end up losing out in the long run!

Click on the link if you would like further information on a suggested Feedback Model that you may find useful. I hope you have found this article useful, thought provoking  and that it helps you deliver your gift more effectively. Do you have any feedback for me and this blog entry?

Martin Smith Learning and Development Ltd is a specialist consultancy working with leaders at all levels to improve their relationships with the people that they interact with both internally and externally to the company. We work with organisations, teams and individuals to identify how they can get the best from their people. We have experience spanning diverse industries and encompassing sectors such as engineering, design, customer service, finance, supply chain, sales and procurement.


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  1. Sridharaya says:

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  2. Theodore Luka says:

    awesome post thats what i call brain candy

  3. Annonymous says:

    summarized and to the point, nice!

  4. Brendon Judie says:

    A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent a lot of time on this. Congratulations!

  5. Annonymous says:

    Well I really enjoyed reading it. This information offered by you is very helpful for good planning.

  6. Babolat Aero says:

    Nice post, keep up with this interesting work.Good to know that this topic is being covered also in this web site, thanks for taking time to discuss this.Good job !

  7. Annonymous says:

    I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

  8. Katherine says:

    Right on, the responsiveness and benefit from feedback is a choice. With the correct attitude, incorporating changes can go a long way. After all, the opinions of the people we work with 40 hours+/week may help in showing us the blind spots we miss.

    But we CAN help as managers, to make the feedback specific, small and measurable. And more frequent than a once a year, obscure performance review. By doing this we make the feedback for the employee – not for our HR documents.

  9. Another interesting blog Martin. I remember thinking when I worked with you how thoughtful and considered your approach seemed to be. Now I see your writing is just the same!

    Did you know that there are well over 100 million blogs on the internet? Now, I don’t claim to have read nearly all of them, however, my favorites folder is full of a good number of what I consider to be decent, interesting blogs, but not even half of them read as well as your blog does.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts Martin with the rest of us. It’s both valuable and interesting/

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