Feedback is a gift. Yeah right… I don’t like feedback. I just don’t like it. It is always about people telling me I am not perfect. I should be less blunt. I should speak slower. I should smile more. I should articulate better. I should show more empathy. I should… yes I know I am not perfect. Stop it please,
By saying that, I do appreciate feedback a lot! I am happy when I get this kind of feedback. The reason I am happy is that people feel safe, safe enough to tell me the truth. Safe enough to be honest with me, which makes me feel good. Although that is not the first thing I think about when people tell me what I should do better.
I am 44 years old, I am slowly starting to learn what my strengths and weakness are. I often get feedback about how I communicate and I always use the excuse I am Dutch. But to be honest, even Dutch people complain about it. So, maybe I’m just rude or something like that. However, I will also say that people also value my honesty and directness.
Should I be less blunt, change my behavior? I don’t believe in this approach. My strengths and weaknesses make me who I am. If I were less direct, I wouldn’t be me. I would be putting on an act, and that would also influence other behaviors of mine.
The feedback I got last year about my bluntness has improved my behavior. When I’m in meetings or speaking with colleagues, and I have the feeling I was too blunt, I always check with them afterward. Was my behavior OK for them? Did I cross a line I did not see? This still makes me true to myself, but feedback has made me realize that I sometimes need to reach out to people.
How do I collect and give feedback? I love the 360 Dinner, a great tool if you work in a mature team. The Feedback Wrap is a great tool to provide feedback. The pattern Peer Feedback is a subtle pattern to give feedback to people. Or I just ask people, for example, “Which assignment would you definitely give to me and why?”.