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Share an example of a time you received feedback that was helpful as well as a time it was unhelpful in your career

Question:

    Share an example of a time when you received effective feedback that helped you improve your performance as a manager or as an employee. What made that feedback helpful? 


    Share an example of a time when you received feedback that was not helpful. as a manager or as an employee. What made that feedback ineffective?


    Using your two examples, what can you conclude about the characteristics of effective feedback? 


    How could you use these lessons to improve the feedback you gave as a manager? 


Answer:

  There has been many times I have received feedback that helped me improve my performance but I don't have any really notable experience of receiving feedback from an employee because the size of my companies are often small and I often do a lot of all the work.

  I don't have any experience of giving feedback to a Boss because I've never had a Boss in my life. 

  However, in business I have received feedback on numerous occasions from customers.


  A good example of a time I received effective feedback that helped me improve my performance was when a small publishing company I owned published a story that I had written in a hurry that I just put out because I just didn't want to miss the deadline that I had set.

  A gentleman that had read the story and apparently had been reading previous stories in the series reached out to me as the author and said, "Common, you can do better than this. This is not like you."

  That touched me deeply. I felt that I had let him down as well as all other loyal readers of the series; whether they said anything or not about the drop in the quality of the story that I had just put out. 

  From that day on I made up my mind never to put out a poorly written or average story through my Publication Company.

  I decided I'll give my very best to the work that I do and only accept the best from my employees.


  What made that feedback helpful was:


  Firstly, it was honest. There was a sincerity in what the gentleman said that quickly connected and resonated with me. I could feel his honesty. 

  If I didn't feel he was honest, in spite of how important and powerful what he has to say may have been. I would have been inclined to dismiss it. I would not have listened or thought any further about what he had to say.


  Secondly, the feedback was actually good. 

  A lot of people love to give advice but not all advice is good advice.

  The feedback I got was actually good because it showed the problem with the way I was going, and also showed me the direction in which I should go.

  It didn't take a lot of deliberation and calculations to see if the problem the gentleman highlighted in his feedback should prompt me to make changes if I wanted what was best for the company and for myself.


   Lastly, the feedback the gentleman gave was coming from a place of someone who genuinely wanted to see me improve my work not from someone who just wanted to point out what I did wrong.

  Those three things were essential in making the feedback helpful.


  An example of a time when I received feedback that was not helpful was when my company had posted some books on Amazon.

  A gentleman who bought one of the books gave feedback that the author had the vocabulary of a 7 year old child.

  What that gentleman didn't realise strangely enough was that it was a children's book. It even had the words "...for kids" in its subtitle. Maybe he didn't see it.


  What made that feedback ineffective was that the gentleman proceeded to insult me and tell me why he didn't like the product. He didn't tell me how to improve the product. He wasn't interested in helping me improve the product.

  Perhaps if he attempted to he would see that it's a children's book and you cannot use the vocabulary in a book for grown ups in a book targeted at 7 to 9 year olds.

  I got carried away by the criticism. It felt more like an insult than a critique.

  It felt more like an attack than somebody trying to help me, so it destroyed any value or point in what the person was trying to say to me.

  Upon reflection I see that I should have also put pictures on every page within the children's book. That would have helped a lot.

  I shouldn't have published a children's book without pictures inside. 


    When I look closely at my two examples, I can safely come to the conclusion that the most important characteristics of effective feedback are:


1) Respectful Communication: All feedback must be communicated respectfully.

  Some people may have good intentions but they begin their feedback or advice with what can only be received as insults. 

  When that is done, the person they're talking to shuts down and is no more open to hear or learn from what the person giving him feedback has to say.


2) Substance: It is not enough to have feedback. Your feedback must have substance. There must be something in what you say that will actually help to improve performance whether your feedback says everything is OK or your feedback points out a problem. 


  As a manager, I can use these lessons to improve the feedback I give by always communicating respectfully with people as I tell them what I have to say even if it may be bad news or pointing out a problem they are responsible for and they should fix.

  There should also be substance in all feedback that I give. Otherwise there's no point in giving it. 



References: 

Stone, Heen (2014). Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.

Retrieved from: 

https://www.amazon.com/Thanks-Feedback-Science-Receiving-Well/dp/0670014664/

 


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