Saturday, April 14, 2018

#UNYSLA2018 : The ‘F’ word: giving and receiving feedback

At the Upstate NY SLA Chapter spring conference Chris Miller presented on the feared word, "feedback."

Types of cognitive biasesChris reference the Atlantic article, “The case against reality.”

“Positive” feedback may actually be no feedback, which leads us to do more of the same rather than making a course correction.  

“Negative” feedback is what we want.  The information, observation or insight can help us do a course correction. This may be seen as “constructive” feedback.

Your reptilian brain may see feedback as criticism and thus as an attack.

We need to improve our abilities to give and receive feedback.

Everyone wants feedback, especially millennials.  Leaders need feedback and they should model how to receive feedback.
  • Use active listening
  • Summarize and clarify - start with closed ended questions to ensure that you’re on the same wavelength, then use open ended questions to clarify what you’re hearing.
  • Don’t argue, accept
  • Think it over
  • Be mindful/take action 
Chris had us to an assessment on how we deal with feedback and then comment on three quick scenarios.

In giving feedback, many use the sandwich method by putting the negative feedback in the middle of positive feedback. This doesn’t always work because people may cherry pick which feedback they hear.  Chris said this is not a good model.

It’s all about:
  • Creating the right environment including setting the right tone
  • Being specific and concrete - focus on description, not judgement.  Focus on behavior not the person.
  • Making it a dialogue - it doesn’t have to be an immediate dialogue. If you need time to think, say so.
The five steps to construct positive feedback
  1. Convey positive intent
  2. Describe specifically what you observed
  3. State the impact of the behavior or action
  4. Ask the other person to respond
  5. Focus the discussion on solutions 
When to give feedback?
  • Timing of the feedback - close to when the event occurred (in other words, not once a year).  Perhaps ask how often someone wants feedback.
  • Be aware of feedback overload
  • Aim for the midpoint of an “Inverted U” - consider feedback sessions 1-2 per month.  Make the feedback positive and negative.
Feedback in difficult situations - Don’t:
  • Become defensive or counterattack
  • Don’t be pressured into doing something you didn’t mean
  • Docent cause the person of being overly emotional or reactive
  • Don’t feel obligated to handle a difficult situation by yourself
Feedback in difficult situations - Do:
  • Remain objective and focused on the person’s performance
  • If necessary, take a break and follow up later
  • Communicate your awareness of the person’s behavior
  • Consult HR if you’re not sure how to proceed or refer to the employee to an employee assistance program

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