The power of feedback

The word feedback has become extremely popular nowadays. Still, most of us probably think of feedback as criticism in situations related to work life and react nervously to it. The reason for that can also derive from our childhood when we were rather used to being judged and assessed negatively than praised. Parents usually notice bad patterns in our behavior and tried to adjust them rather than pay attention to the positive ones, which were worthy of attention.

The truth is that feedback can be positive and negative and thus become the most effective tool for developing yourself and others. A common misconception about feedback is treating it as a valuation of a person, not a behavior or way of working.

Positive feedback should be an integral part of work. A well-done job must be captured and praised immediately, as positive feedback is not shared only for extraordinary achievements. The effect of positive feedback frequently shared with your colleague is higher motivation and less stress, and this applies to both managers and co-workers. According to the Gallup Organization’s survey, 67% of employees whose managers concentrated more on their success have become more involved in work compared to 31% of the workers whose failures tended to be highlighted. Besides high motivation and low-stress levels, positive feedback makes the recipient more proactive and self-confident.

Negative feedback helps to grow. However, it is a constant source of difficulties for both parties. The person sharing the negative feedback might feel uncomfortable, and the recipient might feel attacked. There are some general rules to be obeyed while giving negative feedback, like privacy, avoiding criticism, maintaining a calm voice, relying on facts, and even some methods: sandwich, FUKO, SBI, and others. Despite obeying the rules and applying proper methods, negative feedback might not be effective because we may use a different language than the recipient. In a nutshell, we must speak with empathy using lots of soft skills with highly emotional people. Still, this language would not work with others who have a dominant personality (red personality type – model DISC).

What happens if there is no feedback? A lack of feedback is much more stressful than a negative one, as we cannot determine if silence is a sign of our poor performance. Lack of feedback affects our level of motivation, which, together with stress, leads to poor performance quality. We cannot be guided in our work, so we repeat mistakes, conclude that our performance is of no importance in the organization, and are on the verge of being laid off.

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