When was the last time you were called by your manager to have a word together? Did you feel worried? I think you did. This is the mindset of the majority of employees: you’re going to your manager’s office because you’re in trouble. So while you’re on your way there, you can’t stop thinking what have you done wrong.
But have no fear! You did not do anything wrong. This process is called “giving feedback”. As a matter of fact, it is an opportunity you should look forward to, and not worry about. During this quick catch up with your manager, he or she will give you a quick overview about your performance – whether your overall performance or a specific job you’ve done recently – in addition to a piece of advice. That’s why I told you it’s an opportunity, as getting feedback about your performance is your golden ticket for a fast and solid improvement, which will lead to your success at the end.
The Source of Feedback
Getting feedback is the next step after measuring performance. Basically, feedback is the result of what you’ve done whether it was positive or negative. Let’s take the annual appraisal as an example; a normal appraisal meeting consists of reviewing your annual performance and then getting an overview with regards to your attitude, skills, competencies, future development and overall performance.
Feedback can be given casually, which is the best way – from my point of view – as it will provide more comfort and ease to both the employee and the manager. There will not be any kind of stress or embarrassment as it will be considered as personal advice more than formal feedback.
The Trap of Success
If you asked me why do we need feedback anyway? I would gladly tell you “we need it to improve” or else we will get caught into the ‘trap of success’. This happens when we get very convinced that we are the best and we do our job with the highest levels of quality and professionalism. I agree with you that we actually do. However; how would you guarantee the continuity of this success? Life changes so fast, what’s great today will be adequate tomorrow.
The Rules of Feedback
There are hundreds of rules in giving feedback. But to summarise, the most important ones we can start with the following:
Constructive: The first and most important rule for feedback is to be constructive. Nothing kills the enthusiasm of any employee more thannegative feedback; in this case the feedback should provide a positive side or concentrate on what to be improved with regards to the performance.
Continuous: Regular and continuous feedback is always required – especially for a specific work matter that needs quick action. Follow up is also important to track the progress and how the receiver has used the feedback for improvement.
Clear: Vague feedback will not help at all. Take into consideration that people who receive feedback mostly aren’t aware about what’s wrong with their performance. Thus, clear feedback should be given with advice on how to improve the current state or at least to clearly highlight the current issues. Be specific.
Be humble: The receiver of the feedback should be humble to listen to the given feedback; try to improve the current performance and use this feedback as an opportunity for overall improvement.
In the end, I would say that without feedback there will be no improvement. Feedback is the professional mirror that reflects our performance. It’s our responsibility to improve this reflection to be the best. Also, it’s our responsibility to be humble enough to listen to the feedback we get.