Seed World

It Can be Hard to do, But You Have to Accept Feedback

Feedback is difficult to accept, but it’s a gift given to you from your employees, coworkers and customers.

Feedback might not be the most popular word around — no one wants to hear bad feedback — but it’s certainly something your employees and customers care about.

When it comes down to it, LinkedIn reports that 60% of people report they’d like feedback on a daily or weekly basis, and in people under 30, that number jumps to 72%. And while 45% of respondents say they value feedback from peers, only 30% have received it.

Employees, coworkers, employers and customers all want feedback, and it’s even something driving the employee turnover rates currently.

“Feedback is a big part of why people leave organizations today,” says Mark Waschek, vice president of agronomy with Ag1 Source. “Even though we like to blame COVID for lots of things — like this great resignation — the reality is the reasons people leave jobs are still the same. The difference is, a lot of people chose to act on it over the past 24 months rather than live with it.”

The No. 1 reason people leave companies is tied to their supervisor, Waschek says. While there are a lot of things tied into that, feedback they’re getting and day-to-day interactions with their supervisor are top contenders — not compensation.

“Eight out of 10 people are leaving jobs because of something their supervisor could have prevented,” Waschek says. “This means that this feedback is critical to retaining your employees as well as being able to hire future employees for your organization too.”

So, what can you do? Implement a feedback loop — while hearing the feedback might be difficult, it could save your turnover rate.

Creating a Feedback Environment

When creating or fixing a feedback loop, the most critical piece to consider is the first part of the phrase: feedback.

“We must first be very certain that we’re actually providing feedback,” says Micah Craven, president of Integrity Communications. “While that might sound like common sense, it’s not common practice to provide feedback on a regular basis.”

While there could be many reasons from that — especially if a previous feedback opportunity ended poorly — it’s important to ensure that feedback is being delivered.

“Second, it is a loop, meaning it’s something continuous,” Craven says. “It’s a continued investment where you’re always learning from it. You need to understand how the feedback is going to be applied and actionable.”

But, when it comes down to it — for employees to feel safe enough to express feedback, whether it’s to their supervisor or a coworker — a safe and trusted environment needs to be created.

“You can’t force employees to give feedback to one another,” says Jonathan Shaver, owner of Envision Partners, LLC. “You need to create conditions where they feel safe to do that, or they feel an internal or personal obligation to do that.”

Shaver says this is called psychological safety or creating an environment where there are no negative repercussions organizationally, or if there are negative repercussions, they are addressed by the leadership of an organization.

“It’s also important that leadership role models feedback — to show what giving feedback and receiving feedback should look like,” Shaver says.

After establishing that safety net, it comes down to modeling proper, constructive feedback.

Offering the Feedback Gift

When it comes to offering feedback, it’s all in the delivery.

“We encourage all our clients to really embrace the concept of feedback being a gift,” Craven says. “As long as it’s delivered as such, it’ll be received as such. When we view feedback through that lens, we begin looking at it differently.”

Instead of looking at it like work and a critique, instead, it’ll be viewed as someone making an investment of their time, energy and effort in helping someone to be better at what they do.

Ensuring feedback is specific balanced and unjudgmental ensures that it’s more of a gift and investment instead of coming across as just managing someone, Craven says.

In addition, Shaver says approaching feedback with positive intention is important for it to be accepted.

“Just deliver the piece of information that you need to deliver as soon as possible,” Shaver says. “In addition, the key is to focus on behavior without judgement or assumption of the intention.”

Another part to giving feedback well is ensuring you’re delivering feedback with a purpose by keeping a solution to the problem in mind.

“In layman’s terms, do not provide feedback unless you’re prepared to be part of the solution,” says Waschek. “If you are the type of individual that wants your organization to improve and you want your career to advance, it’s important to understand how to lead your peers and coworkers without the title of supervisor.”

There’s a lot more to the conversation, but these tips will get you started on a journey of not only bettering your feedback skills, but your communication skills for the future.

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