Leading and Managing: The Real Value of Feedback

I recently received an e-mail from someone to let me know that they had decided to unsubscribe from my list and gave me a couple of reasons why.  It got me thinking about the value of feedback in terms of leading and managing.  We all know that depending on how we view it, feedback can sometimes have a negative impact on us. At the same time, if we are truthful we are probably missing a trick if we react negatively. 

So what is the real value of feedback?

Benefit 1:  You gain insight

Every time you get feedback, whether it is negative or positive, you get some insights into what is working and what is not.  This insight can help you develop, grow or perhaps modify what you are doing.

Benefit 2:  You can make change

We all have probably heard the phrase if it is not broken don’t fix it.  At the same time if something is not achieving what you want it to, getting feedback gives you the opportunity to make change, so that you get the result you want.

Benefit 3: It makes you stand back and take stock

It is easy just to jump from one thing to the next without ever stopping and reflecting.  Feedback is a bit like the brake on a car.  It forces you to slow down, take stock and then decide what is best to do next.

Benefit 4: It provides you with a different perspective

No two people looking at things in the same way.  We all have our own unique lens or lenses that we view things through.  Feedback is often just a different perspective from your own about a particular thing you are doing or problem you are dealing with.

Bottom Line – Feedback costs you nothing but offers you a lot of value.  So how could you use feedback to achieve more success?

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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12 comments
Peter Ramsden says 5 August 2009

Duncan,

Four solid benefits of receiving good quality feedback.

The key for me is that the provider of the feedback is coming from the right place and that the feedback is of sufficient quality to have a positive impact on the receiver. If either are missing then the chances are neither party gains from the process.

BTW, I never liked the the old cliché ‘if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it’. Who ever heard of anything working forever without some care and maintenance? Feedback is one element of that care and maintenance to make sure it works now and well into the future IMHO.

Best wishes,

Peter

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Duncan Brodie says 5 August 2009

Hi Peter

Totally with you on your point about the feedback having to be of sufficient quality.

I often say to people that they need to make the feedback useable and part of that is being really specific.

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Jo Ann Sweeney says 5 August 2009

Hi Duncan

Feedback makes such a difference. It is easy to spot other people’s mistakes, but much harder to see your own, so having people who are willing to say what they think even if there is a chance they may offend us is really important.

I recently had an SEO expert friend sit down and go through my website with me. She could see things I was blind to and that were hard to accept. But I’m glad she shared them with me.

My session with her got me thinking about how integral trust is to good feedback. If people don’t trust us they will say what they think we want to hear rather than what they really think.

Regards,

Jo Ann

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Janice Robertson says 5 August 2009

Hi Duncan,

It can be easy to become defensive when someone gives you feedback that can on the face of it seem negative but as you have pointed out we can gain so much from it. The more feedback we get, good and bad the more we can grow and learn from it.

Best wishes,

Janice

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Duncan Brodie says 5 August 2009

Hi Janice

You are right that it is so easy to become defensive and I guess to a greater or lesser extent hearing something we did not expect is going to result in some uncomfortable feelings.

If we can push beyond that and take it in the spirit it was given it can help us move forward.

Duncan

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Duncan Brodie says 5 August 2009

Hi Jo Ann

You are absolutely right. It is so much easier to spot others blind spots than our own.

I think there is a great learning point from your post about consulting experts. If we see them as part of our team rather than fault finders it is a win-win all round,

Duncan

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