A friend and I were musing over some feedback forms from a recent event she had run, and our conversation turned to the most effective way of giving feedback to others. It’s an art… to find ways of communicating how well some one has done, how successful they have been – and yet to provide them with opportunities to improve.
Received wisdom says you should deliver what the management textbooks refer to as a feedback sandwich: tell them how well they did, what they got right, what you loved about it – then tell them one thing they could do better next time – then finish off with an overall positive comment. The theory is that leaves them with a sense of happiness while delivering something to work on gift wrapped and easily digested.
And I am not so sure that works all that well.
My friend, for example, had lots of positive feedback from her weekend event. Rave reviews, lots of ‘that was amazing’, a real genuine ‘everybody loved it’ – and yet she’ll naturally find a way to focus on the negative. Which seems a shame, somehow, because all the great stuff that should feed her self esteem is lost, simply because she has chosen to look at the negative side.
For me, there’s too much negativity in the world that we could do without. So I’d like to suggest a different way of providing feedback that you might like to think about… tell people what they got right. Tell them what you loved. Tell them what was amazing, and be very specific about it. What happens when you do that? People do more of those things – and less of the other. The ‘not so good’ stuff shrivels away, because they are busing doing more of the great stuff, more of the exciting stuff, more of what makes them incredible.
When I look at the world, I see people who have been told that they can’t achieve, people who have been told they can’t be successful.. people who are downtrodden. Like Moses I want to shout ‘set my people free’ – take off the restrictions of ‘not good enough’ and let people fly free, free to rise to their highest potential, free to be incredible, free to release their own inner awesomeness.
Who can you find to encourage today?