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 Learn from feedback

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Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant

Number of posts : 456
Age : 25

Learn from feedback Empty
PostSubject: Learn from feedback   Learn from feedback Empty10th January 2009, 10:42

Inside everyone's head is a picture of how they see themselves. This mental self-portrait sums up their values, behaviors, and self-image. In most cases, leaders with a fatal flaw are totally unaware of that flaw. For example, people who immediately reject others’ ideas would probably describe themselves as having such extensive experience that they know what ideas will succeed and fail. These individuals don't know they are perceived as rejecting everyone else's ideas. How can that be changed?

Feedback from coaching, team discussions, or 360-degree surveys can provide “disconfirming information.” The messages conveyed would be contrary to leaders’ self-perceptions. This creates a dilemma and forces action. Leaders now have several choices:

First, deny the information. But if it comes from multiple sources that are clearly reliable, it becomes extremely difficult to deny this consistent pattern of feedback.

Second, choose to change their self-concept. Leaders can say to themselves, “OK, I guess I am arrogant and think my ideas are the only good ones that exist.” However most would find this unacceptable and illogical.

Third, change behavior. For most people faced with a barrage of disconfirming information, the easiest course of action is actually to change the behavior. That is the power of feedback.

Not all feedback is equally useful. Feedback is most valuable if it is specific, focused, and related to the behavior or process rather than general personality characteristics. The most useful feedback focuses on the intensity of effort, the innovative approaches used, or the ability to overcome obstacles. If a child is told, "Wow, you really worked hard on that,” he or she will be better equipped to face future challenges than if told, "Wow, you're really smart.” This is a subtle difference in the way feedback is given, but it can powerfully affect the way people view themselves and their abilities.

Not all people like the same type of feedback. Some people are highly motivated by positive feedback. They feel crushed by negative feedback. However, other people are skeptical of positive feedback because they care most about averting failure. To them, negative feedback is a source of useful information, while positive feedback comes across as hollow praise.

The fine art of learning from feedback will be easier if you do the following:

Find trustworthy sources of feedback: It's easy to get blindsided by our own weaknesses. We need people we can trust who will tell us the truth about ourselves. Don't shy away from giving good feedback to others.

Stick with specifics: Excellent feedback gives people specific information. Give detailed examples where possible. Describe what actually happened rather than your assumptions about the events.

Tailor feedback to the person: Be sensitive. If the person's life orientation is to prevent disaster, stick with suggestions for improvement to help them achieve that goal. If individuals will be devastated by negative feedback, accentuate the positive aspects of their performance.
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