Why Giving and Receiving Feedback is Important
(Read time - 4 minutes)
In the first of our ‘Tough Stuff’ series, we look at the benefits of giving and receiving feedback. It’s a simple technique that can totally transform both your own, and your media sales teams’ performance. However, the truth is that most of us are fearful of the word ‘feedback’, never mind the process. Who looks forward to their annual review? We think it’s either going to result in painful discussions that become a personal attack, or fear we will come across as a prima-donna seeking praise.
The reality is though, giving and receiving feedback is an important process both for our own self-development and for business overall.
As Tom Rath explains, “Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.”
So why not turn the pain into gain, and try our top five tips for giving and receiving feedback to your media sales team.
5 top tips for receiving feedback…
1 Get over the fear
Accept people’s thoughts and work with what they’re saying. Don’t immediately jump to a defensive position. Feedback creates a greater sense of self-awareness, builds resilience, provides direction and motivates us to improve. Remind yourself of the benefits of feedback and push yourself to proactively seek it out.
2 Go to a number of sources
Each person sees the world in a different way, so go for a consensus view from people you respect, but don’t necessarily always agree with you. Explain upfront which specific areas you’d like feedback on and how much detail you prefer, and start the conversation by offering your own reflections. Your goal is to get an unbiased picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
3 Embrace the opportunity
The goal of feedback should be to either start a new behaviour, stop an existing behaviour, or continue a behaviour that’s working. It’s all valuable input, so make the most of the new insights you have.
4 Be curious
Ask questions, for example, ‘When have I acted like this?’ or ‘What could I do to improve?’ That way, you can form a clear picture of some of the things you could do to change.
5 Reflect and make a plan
Simply having the conversation isn’t enough. Take the time to evaluate the extent to which you understand, agree with and, crucially, want to change due to the feedback. Then write down specifically what you are going to do differently as a result, including firm actions and a deadline. As Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you change nothing, nothing will change.
5 top tips for giving feedback…
If thoughts are fresh in people’s minds, the impact of the feedback is accentuated. Annual reviews, that focus on an action six months ago lose their force and opportunity to improve now, but it’s also important not to give feedback when you (or they) are emotionally charged or distracted. Timing is everything.
2 Place and purpose
Think about the right time and place to give your feedback. Constructive feedback should take place in a private space, but positive feedback could be in public assuming that works for the receiver. Weekly 1-2-1’s are a great way to make feedback from both parties become common practice, meaning there’ll be no surprises at appraisal time, and both sides will get more from their working relationship.
3 Provide understandable points
Give context, be clear and specific. Think about how best to approach your feedback with the individual. As with presentations and negotiations, do a little preparation. The impact of feedback can be powerful, so make sure you deliver it effectively.
4 Have a constructive dialogue
Avoid the confrontation scenario. Instead, have a two-way conversation. Ask questions, for example, ‘How do you see it?’ or ‘What are your thoughts?’ or ‘How can I help you to ….’. There should be areas to improve, but also share the things that they do well and should continue to do more of moving forward.
5 Set actions or goals
Discuss and agree on an action, and look for areas to recognise improvement, so you can hopefully give some praise. In the words of Mary Kay Ash “There are two things people want more than sex and money… recognition and praise.”
Whether it’s good or bad, giving and receiving feedback in the right way will help you and your media sales employees grow and develop. So why not take the champions breakfast challenge and see what you can achieve by Christmas?
Next time, we’ll look at how to have Difficult Conversations with colleagues and customers.