Feedback, The Breakfast of Champions!

Posted on May 2018 By Speller International
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Feedback is an important part of life. Without it, we don’t know how we are seen by others or how we can improve ourselves, our skills, team or broader community in our everyday lives.

But often, it can be challenging to receive. Even positive feedback can make people feel awkward or uncomfortable!

That’s why we’re exploring feedback in today’s blog. We hope it provides you with some useful hints, tips and themes that can be used to assist you with receiving feedback and encourage personal growth!

Timing is everything

Most people like to receive feedback. They want to know how others view them and if they are doing a good job. Just remember: timing your request for feedback is everything.

Try not to spring it on your team lead or person you’re seeking feedback from. Position the conversation during ‘down time’, grab a coffee or check in to set up an appropriate time in the next day or two. The last thing you want is to try and elicit feedback on your performance from someone in the middle of their busiest week of the year!

Another thing to think about when timing your feedback is where are you up to in the project/contract. Have you just had a ‘go-live’? Take the opportunity to get some feedback on your performance throughout the process so you can put the feedback into action for the next project.

Or, are you about to present to the business? A quick chat with your manager on your communication skills can help you prepare and ensure your presentation is informative and engaging. Remember – you don’t want to be put off by the feedback, so use appropriate questions and ensure the person knows the specifics of the presentation.

Take a positive approach

Build your questions is a positive way. Frame your approach along the lines of ‘to be more efficient/productive/proficient in my role/project/specific area, what are some ways I could improve?’ Or, ‘in this situation, what are some of the ways I could have done things differently to achieve a better outcome?’

Try and use specific examples of areas you already think you could have done better in and try to use open questions that lead to a discussion rather than yes/no answers (which tend to close discussion down).

If someone says ‘you could be a stronger communicator’, try and get examples of when you communicated effectively and when you didn’t. Receiving these types of examples, you will be able to gauge and understand your effectiveness and success.

Be gracious

When you have asked for feedback, be prepared for both a positive and a negative outcome, and make sure you thank your assessor for their time and feedback.

You don’t have to take everything they say on board or even agree with it all, but don’t try and defend your actions or inactions. They will be sharing their point of view.

Don’t forget: you asked for it. It’s up to you what action you take in response to it.

Take note

Not just physical notes, though these are helpful to take away and reflect on. We mean to listen to what the person has said.

Apply their suggestions to the scenario and see if it would have made a difference. Use their tips and ideas when you are next in a situation, and that could be handled differently to how you would in the past.

Go away and research any techniques/skills they’ve recommended and try and learn from what they’ve said. If the opportunity presents itself, let your manager know how you’ve applied their feedback. They’ll be much more receptive to giving feedback if they know you are actually taking (at least some of) it on board!

Don’t just take

Constructive, well-timed feedback benefits everyone. Try and use group discussions to give positive feedback, to tell someone they’ve done a good job or share with everyone a shortcut/new technique you’ve been shown.

Don’t be afraid to ask

All feedback is valuable and can be used constructively. It may not always be right, it may not be reflective of who you are or how you are, but it is always a reflection of how people see you.

Remember at all times – whether giving or receiving feedback – that there is a difference between criticism and critique. The former tears something down. The latter reinforces the good points while repairing the areas in need of improvement.

But most importantly, feedback can provide you an opportunity to grow, to see beyond yourself and discover better or bigger ways that you can contribute. Soliciting feedback is one of the readiest and cheapest ways you can invest in yourself and one of the best ways to discover your potentials.

Our advice? Seek it out wherever you can, and let it be the fuel to start each day!

Discover more life and career tips in Speller’s extensive archive of articles about all things SAP. Or perhaps you’re looking for new opportunities? We’re here to help!