We’re all nerds. Not necessarily the nerds typified as those we see on TV with pimples all over their faces, old fashioned glasses on their noses, wearing clothes their mothers bought for them twenty years ago, but as ordinary people who spend time working with his or her eyes fixed on the computer screen. We may be fans of small talk, but having a serious debate scares us to death. A bunch of introverts, some would say. Unfortunately, there is no room for this kind of person in the business environment. That is why we have to adjust and find a way that will teach us how to talk with each other and help us cooperate.
It may occur to you that with psychology being more popular than ever it must be simple to find a solution to our problem. But feedback is not and has never been easy. Hopefully it will get simpler with every conversation we are about to have, but every employer and every employee will say the same thing. The way we benefit from feedback however, makes it worth the effort. If you have already started picturing the success of your company, let us tell you what exactly feedback is and why you need to start practicing it right now.
Put simply, feedback is a system that may be crucial for proper communication. It is a reaction or response of a receiver that reaches the sender so he can understand how his message or action was interpreted. If this is the first time you have come across this word, let us provide an example. Remember when you were a child and you wanted to get something really badly so you decided to tidy up your room months after your parents asked you to? Your mum saying “what a wonderful job, honey!” after she sees how clean the whole apartment is, that is feedback. A response to your action. It made you get what you wanted, but how can feedback influence the entire company?
You want that answer, we know. But you need to learn how to give a feedback properly first. Complimenting someone sounds easy, but how can you criticise your worker without discouraging him? Here are some tips that we have been working on and found essential:
- Be helpful – you often need to say something out loud in order to get it out of your head, but feedback is not all about you. It is about the other person whom you are trying to help. The best way to be as helpful as possible is to write your message down. That way you will know exactly what you want to say and find an appropriate way of saying it.
- Be immediate – there is no need to wait for a perfect moment. That way you will forget half of the things you wanted to say and the other person will not even remember the situation you refer to. Feel free to talk right after an event has taken place, however taking that advice too literally is not always a good idea. Instead of coming out of nowhere and surprising the person with some criticism, ask him or her to set up a time to talk. That way both of you can prepare.
- Be specific – that is something we find extremely hard to achieve. You can easily be too vague and not say what you want as you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or be too direct, hurting them anyway. Try to connect what you want to say with some positive information, say for example “you are so smart, I would love to hear what you have to say on our meetings!” instead of “you don’t talk to people”.
Another thing we need to learn about feedback is that it is not a monologue. Making feedback a conversation is thought to be the most effective way in which to improve the way our company works. That is why it is so important to know how to receive feedback properly. Don’t worry, we prepared some advice that can work for you:
- Be open – whatever your opinion is about yourself, it is not what everyone else thinks, especially your boss. If you want feedback to work – and you should – you need to be prepared to hear the criticism and use it to improve your work instead of fighting it.
- Be focused – in order to hear feedback, you need to listen to it. Try to imagine how hard it must be for the other person to say all those things, make sure he or she knows you are listening both verbally and non-verbally.
- Be active – as we mentioned above, feedback is meant to be a conversation, you should feel free to ask questions. Make sure you understand what the other person is saying correctly and react. Remember not to be too aggressive though.
Now you should be ready to put feedback into practice and finally understand its purpose. Communicating openly and honestly creates that unique bond between people. It works the same way when it comes to colleagues. Once you find friends in your workplace, you go there more willingly, work more efficiently and, the most important thing, become more productive. Taking good care of that bond by giving and receiving feedback properly and regularly will motivate the entire team and develop your performance, making you and your company get closer to success. Now, have we convinced you to give feedback?