On the Job

Feedback: The Ultimate Gift

Last week, I had the chance to lead a session on feedback. I was particularly looking forward to this discussion because the team had selected feedback as one of four issues they wanted to cover during the year for their professional development together. I love that they opted to spend their time on the topic because it can be such a tricky subject and many people prefer to just shy away from it (or rely on the feedback sandwich. Don’t even get me started there…). But this team was willing – and excited! – to put their time and resources into learning more about giving and receiving feedback with the goal of strengthening their team.

We spent some time going over the basics, establishing common language and talking through a few tools that can be used in both giving and receiving feedback, but my favorite part was how engaged they were when it came time for questions and discussion. I was impressed with the level of candor and trust among the group. It was clear they had some shared experiences where honest feedback could be helpful, especially with their external clients, and they were willing to dig into those issues. This team had created an environment where it was okay to talk about the scary parts of feedback – when your emotions come out your eyeballs, for instance. And they not only asked for my advice and experience, but wanted to hear from their colleagues as well on what had worked for them, or how they might handle a particular situation.

At the end of the session, we practiced feedback in the form of session evaluations. 100% of the team said the session was worth their time, which was the best feedback I could have asked for. They were also generous with what they liked and what worked well for them as participants, as well as aspects that could be improved. Yes, I was there to help guide them through a conversation about feedback, but the feedback they provided to me in the form of their active participation and thoughtful evaluations is a gift for which I’m truly grateful. I can’t think of anything more valuable than someone making time to share their insights with you in the form of feedback. How cool is that?

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