How good is your feedback ?

Differentiating Between Good and Bad Feedback

Frequently, colleagues, subordinates, friends, and acquaintances seek my input and advice on various matters, including ideas they have contemplated or decisions they may have already made. However, I have developed a tendency to hesitate or refrain from providing INSTANT feedback.

An African proverb is quite relevant here

Examine what is said, and not who speaks.

While I acknowledge the significance of timing in certain aspects of the journey to success, I tend to approach giving feedback with caution due to my perspective on the nature of feedback and when it is appropriate to offer suggestions or guidance.

Before providing any feedback, I consider a few important questions:

  1. Am I the right person to provide the feedback?

  2. What am I considering? My intuition or my comprehension?

  3. How much time have I invested in processing my feedback?

The feedback paradox

Am I the right person to provide the feedback?

I assess whether I have the relevant expertise, knowledge, or experience in the subject matter being discussed.

What am I considering? My intuition or my comprehension?

I reflect on whether my feedback is based on my intuitive sense or a thorough comprehension of the situation at hand thus gauging the reliability and depth of my understanding.

How much time have I invested in processing my feedback?

While I may lack prior experience in some subject matters, I invest time and effort in processing and analyzing feedback. I aim to provide honest, well-developed, coherent feedback grounded in evidence or observations, acknowledging its subjective nature.

There is a common misconception that any comment or criticism is considered bad feedback, while compliments or positive words are seen as good feedback. However, this understanding oversimplifies the concept of feedback.

In reality, feedback can encompass both positive and negative aspects. Effective feedback involves providing constructive insights, sometimes also highlighting areas of improvement, and acknowledging strengths.

While positive feedback and compliments can be uplifting and motivating, they should not overshadow the importance of constructive criticism.

When providing feedback, it is essential to include both recognition of accomplishments and suggestions for optimization, particularly if the feedback provider has addressed the three questions mentioned earlier. By incorporating these elements, feedback becomes more comprehensive and balanced, offering acknowledgment of achievements while also offering guidance for further improvement or enhancement.

The key takeaway is that while one may not fully comprehend every subject matter, providing valuable feedback requires investing time to form a well-informed perspective. By being honest about one's opinion based on this effort, meaningful insights can still be shared.

So ask yourself,

Are you being completely honest with yourself about your opinions?

"Why did God give me two ears and one mouth? So that I will hear more and talk less" - Leo Rosten, American humorist and writer

Intuition is not necessarily constructive, and there is also a thing called Intelligence Bias.