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When People Ask For Feedback, Do They Really Ask For Feedback?

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When people ask for feedback, do they really ask for feedback?

Giving and receiving feedback is a common phenomenon at the workplace environment. Does this really work? Do people really want feedback?

My experience shows that when people ask for feedback, they actually want one of the following:

  • To get noticed: They actually want you to notice what they have done. When someone asks you, “How’s my work?” what they actually want is that you notice their contributions.
  • Appreciation: They want appreciation for what they have done, their contributions to organizational growth rather than feedback for improvement.
  • Your understanding: When someone says, “I want your feedback for improvement,” what they want from you is for you to listen to them and help them discover what they need to change and advise them on the help the organization can give them. They do NOT want you to really give feedback, without understanding their position.

The next time someone asks for feedback, check their real motives and act accordingly. If you really want to help your employees to improve, as a leader what you need is not giving feedback, but to appreciate and understand them. They will find ways to work on their shortcomings.

Some tips to motivate teams:

1. Understand and recognize individual talent and weaknesses. Assign skill-based projects.

2. Always, always recognize their contributions.

3. Give feedback on particular incidents or actions and NOT on global character traits.

4. Be available as a support and guide – be a resource in meeting their results.

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  • a great question about feedback. As an attendee of a leadership program we were all told that feedback is a gift. If you were asking for feedback than accept it as a gift no matter if the message is good or bad.

  • What I have found to be the most successful way to “provide” feedback as a leader is to ask the employee three questions and listen after each question.
    1. Where on your job do you really perform well and enjoy what you do?

    1. Where would you like to improve your performance – or – what would you like to learn in order to contribute more fully to our goals?

    1. How can I help you do that?

    These questions help the employee assess their own performance and are based on the premise that deep down we all really know how we measure up. It also gives me a measure of the employee’s touch with reality. Even if they come up with completely different ideas from my own perception I gain valuable information of their perspective on things and can fold those differences into the conversation.
    The third question positions me as supportive while allowing the employee to chart their own course instead of me dictating it.

    This works for individuals on the team and can also be a discussion with all the team together.

  • Does status matter?
    There are unique perspectives, which are frequently ignored, or not heard.
    If you are motivating and leading a team in the service area, the feedback from your customers is extremely salient.
    Yet, in disability matters, this certainly does not hold true. Throughout all my conversations on this point, there appears to be an almost world wide recognition that attitude has to change.
    So, if you were leading a team, how would you change that attitude?
    28 minutes ago

  • Yes, giving and receiving feedback is a universal practice in the workplace environment. The request for feedback in any environment is the opening salvo for intensification and improvement. The employee that does not ask for and need feedback on their actions does not understand the significance of working as a team. A request for feedback indemnifies devotion, willing to embrace evolutionary thinking, and notation to achieving pre- set goals. Feedback is buy in, feedback is validation, feedback is clarification and feedback is opening new avenues, not a blessing of the current skills.

  • David

    First of all, if you do not give feedback to your employees you are failing as a leader. It can be a derailer to an otherwise effective manager.
    Now when people ask for feedback they may genuinely want constructive feedback. Others may actually want some form of reinforcement of their self-esteem, much like a child would want reassurance from his/her mother for doing a good job. I would always approach feedback as necessary and be honest with the person. But that honesty does not have to be abrasive. You can give honest, constructive feedback gracefully by taking the self concept of the individual into account and deliver your message accordingly.

  • Berti

    Yes, people do want feedback, but not for the reason of “giving feedback or a response;” people want feedback that can help them think more reflectively about how they can do things differently and better or whether they are on track for doing things well. Feedback should not be about the person giving the feedback; feedback is about the person who solicited the feedback.

    Berti