‘Can I give you some feedback?’ - is the question that makes us want to run away, or in the virtual world, to pretend that we have just lost wifi connection.
Evolution has taught us to always scan the environment for danger. Not only the external danger, such as animals that might contemplate us for lunch, but also dangers within our own tribe. If you weren’t accepted or cared for by your own people, your chances of survival went down pretty fast.
Now, let’s put that into the context of today’s workforce, and we have a feedback culture filled with anxiety and defensiveness. If feedback is part of the culture at all.
The main difference between feedback and criticism is this: criticism focuses on the past and it feels like an attack while feedback focuses on the future and it offers a suggestion or advice on how to do better next time.
If your ‘feedback’ doesn’t help the person to grow then it’s useless and may even be harmful.
Let’s take an example. Which one would you rather receive?
I have asked you to do [insert] and what I got is far from what I was expecting. Shall I give this to someone else?
I have asked for [insert] and what I got has some elements but missing [insert].You have done a better job on similar tasks before when you did [insert]. Can you give it another go?
Leaders who get this are viewed by their team more like a coach rather than a boss. They nurture their tribe and make people feel safe, appreciated and supported.