I remember listening to Luke Darcy (ex AFL player) talk about the volume of feedback he used to get from his coach while playing at the elite level in the AFL. In contrast, once playing had finished and he had taken up a corporate role, he said that he basically got none! He actually recounts that he found this a bit odd, and also that it was hard to know if he was doing the right thing.
Giving and receiving feedback is a hard thing to do. I know I have received some great feedback over the years – and some of it really hard to stomach. A lot of it boils down to how people perceive you. Often you think that you are doing the best, achieving great outcomes, but how you are perceived to be doing the things that you do is very often different from your view. I have also found it really hard to give the type of feedback that will be challenging to hear.
Bill Gates is quoted as saying “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”. It’s so true! Why don’t we do it more? We are all happy to “like” a Facebook post, we “retweet” a good twitter comment – all giving the author, immediate feedback! Yet when it comes to our organisations, we unhappily in most cases, undertake an annual review process, where we give and get feedback, typically well after any of the events that really matter – not much chance of improvement there hey!
I think we should all try to give more feedback – good and challenging – to help us all improve our human capital. I think that we should also have an open mind when receiving the feedback – it might not always be right, but beware of ignoring it!