The Importance of Feedback

Importance of Feedback
Importance of Feedback

I have a friend who is one of the nicest and kindest people I know. Unfortunately, she gives off a bad first impression. Although she rarely has a cross word for anyone, she doesn’t always express her appreciation to people.

She’s friendly to them. But if she’s invited to a party for which she can’t attend, she’ll just say “No thanks,” without an explanation why or an explanation that she has a conflict. People sometimes think she’s aloof and distant.

Neither is true. She simply isn’t good at providing feedback.

Have you ever sent an email or text to someone and never got a response. Even if the message wasn’t asking for a response, sometimes it’s nice to get an acknowledgement from the recipient.

Acknowledging messages

People are busier than ever. Most people I know get more than a hundred emails a day. It’s a skill to scan our emails, find the important ones we have to reply to, and continue on with the rest of our work.

Many emails simply inform us that something got done. When we ask for a report and receive it, we read it and continue on. Put yourself on the other side of that situation. Imagine that your boss asked you for a report and you provided it correctly and on time. It was a great report that allowed your boss to give an excellent presentation to the board. Yet, there wasn’t so much as a “Thanks” in return.

That can be demoralizing. Some bosses are just like that. But sometimes, the boss is just so busy, he or she didn’t have time to even think about it.

When you send an email to someone requesting information, remember to take a moment to follow-up with a thank you. You might even comment about how quick they responded.

A job well done

Aside from reports, sometimes people do their job exceedingly well. You might have been hoping for and expecting them to do it exceedingly well. So you didn’t notice how well it turned out. They simply met your high expectations.

Take a moment to notice when people do exceedingly well. Even when people do something well, take time to give them recognition. It means a lot to the recipient.

Some people are uncomfortable lavishing praise on people. They feel like it’s artificial to always tell people how much they appreciate them. It can be awkward if it’s not something you do regularly. But it’s something to get used to.

You don’t have to go on and on so that it’s embarrassing. A simple “Great job” is often enough.

Make it public

People like to be praised in public as well. If you have a daily or weekly status meeting, praise your team members in front of the team. Again, it doesn’t have to be lavish praise. Say something like, “Mary, you did a great job on that presentation yesterday. The CIO was very impressed. Thanks for your efforts.” Gratitude like that creates gratitude and loyalty from Mary. It also demonstrates to the rest of the team that you appreciate good work. This will encourage them to perform well too.

Feedback in conversation

Listening is one of the most underrated forms of communication.  Some people are able to listen while they check their emails and read whatever they’re reading on their phone. Maybe they are able to get most of what somebody is saying. But that’s not the message they send back.

If someone is talking to you and you are listening to them, you both gain by practicing engaged listening. You get more out of their message by looking them in the eye. They provide better engagement and a better message knowing that you are listening.

Active listening is the act of focusing on the speaker. Look them in the eye. Nod in agreement when you understand what they are saying. Ask follow up questions when you’re unclear. Restate things in a different way to verify that you understand.

Practicing active listening will help you get better clarity and understanding. The speaker will get feedback from you and feel listened to.

Conclusion

We get caught up in our busy day and often forget about the effort involved from our team members. People go out of their way to help us get our job done every day. It is important to provide feedback to them to let them know you appreciate their effort and hear them when they speak.

It creates an environment of trust and gratitude that improves morale and productivity.

How do you provide feedback to your team?

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong.at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Related Posts
Key Consulting Skill: Shut Up
The young batter planted his back foot in the dirt of the batter’s box and assumed his stance.  He took a hard swing at the 2-1 pitch, rocketing it between ...
READ MORE
Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma
Have you ever worked so hard that you didn’t get anything done? The elusive banana The monkey’s dilemma is a well known story about how hunters figured out a way to capture ...
READ MORE
Reporting to the Client Executive
For any consultant, reporting to the client executive can be difficult. Clients don’t always specify what they want and how it should be reported. Even when things are agreed upon ...
READ MORE
How I’ve Learned to Love Failing
After a five-year stint away from consulting, I realized that I missed it.  A lot.  I enjoyed the two jobs I held during my little sabbatical and met some incredible people.  But ...
READ MORE
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given to a Consultant
We see evidence of status all over the work place.  The boss in the corner office; larger, more comfortable chairs for management; and cubicles by the window for people with ...
READ MORE
Client Expectation Management
When a client hires a consulting firm, whether it’s a single independent consultant or a full project team from a large firm, they know they are paying a high billing ...
READ MORE
The Talent Acquisition Game
Prior to the 1982 baseball season, the Philadelphia Phillies traded their shortstop Larry Bowa to the Chicago Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.  To sweeten the deal, the Phillies threw in ...
READ MORE
How to Transfer Knowledge to Your Client
Consultants are hired by clients for a number of reasons.  A client may need to increase their staff temporarily for a special project. Or they may need specialized knowledge that ...
READ MORE
5 Steps to Better Client Communication
Communication is an important facet of developing relationships with your clients.  What some consultants don’t understand is that little things they do – or don’t do – can affect their ...
READ MORE
How the Client Senses the Consultant Spy
In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the 5th book of the insanely popular series by J. K. Rowling, a new teacher is introduced. Professor Umbridge ...
READ MORE
Key Consulting Skill: Shut Up
Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma
Effectively Reporting to the Client Executive
How I’ve Learned to Love Failing
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given
Client Expectation Management
The Talent Acquisition Game
How to Transfer Knowledge to Your Client
5 Steps to Better Client Communication
How the Client Senses the Consultant Spy