As human beings, one of the things we’re all searching for is validation, especially at work. Are we doing a good job? Are we meeting our goals? Are our efforts making a difference?
To a degree, these things can be measured quantitively, but what many of us are seeking goes a little deeper. We want to hear that the work we’re doing actually means something. So how do we find out? Typically, we’ll turn to our supervisor and ask for feedback.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not necessarily. There’s a fine art to receiving feedback – as well as to giving it – and it’s not always easy. In order for feedback to be effective, both sides need to have an understanding of what their expectations are. Is the person seeking feedback really open to what the other person has to say? And is the person giving the feedback prepared to give constructive, helpful advice?
In this installment of Conversations from the Corner Office, ID Plans CRO Seth Garber shares his dos and don’ts for giving and receiving feedback. Keep these suggestions in mind so the next time you’re asked for feedback – or are seeking it yourself – the interaction can be as productive as possible.
“If someone asks me for feedback, my gut instinct is to tell them what to do,” Garber says. “But if I react that way, I’m negating the value that person brings.” The best thing to do is to stay calm and hear the other person out. That can be easier said than done, but it’s the best approach for a productive conversation.
“I don’t like to provide feedback until I deeply understand what the other person is asking for,” Garber says. If you’re not perfectly clear on the scenario or what the end goal is, it’s not fair to provide feedback. In this case, the best thing to do is keep asking questions until you’re on the same page as the person you’re advising.
Do you really want to hear someone else’s suggestions? Or are you just asking because you think that’s what you’re “supposed” to do? If it’s the latter, you might want to take a step back before continuing down this path. You could end up in a place you don’t want to be. Which brings us to the next one…
“A lot of times when someone provides feedback, they are actually giving direction,” Garber says. Right or wrong, you need to go into the conversation expecting that the advice you’re given could mean scrapping the work you’ve already done or adding additional tasks to your plate. Are you prepared to do that?
Sometimes, feedback can create a suppression of open thinking, Garber says. If someone is working on a project and has great ideas and then asks for feedback from someone who’s not as familiar with the subject, it can derail progress. “I could give my thoughts on something, and the other person might run with them, and my advice may not be any good,” Garber notes. “That could, in some instances, slow us down and put us in the wrong direction.”
Simply saying, “I’d like your feedback” isn’t necessarily the best way to start the conversation. Consider questions like, “If you were in my shoes, what steps would you take to make sure this project is the best it can be?” or “What types of things similar to this project have you seen be successful?” This is a great way to start a meaningful conversation that encourages creative thought and collaboration.
Once you receive feedback, be strong in your convictions. Are you going to take the suggestions and incorporate them into your work? Or is it better to ignore the advice you’re given and stick with your gut? Whatever path you choose, Garber says, you need to own it, no matter the outcome. It may pay off, or it may be a lesson you can draw upon later. Both can be valuable in your career development.
What’s your best advice for giving and receiving feedback? Leave your comments below.
ID Plans has been a game-changer in the commercial real estate tech industry since 1999, and the software solutions we provide help property managers, brokers and investors run their businesses more efficiently. For a demo of our products, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.