Workplace Wednesday: Give Feedback with Awareness, Connection, Insight, & PurposeApril 14, 2021
In this week’s Workplace Wednesday, how to make giving feedback a positive experience for you and the receiver.
Giving feedback is a key aspect of working with others. A growth-mindset and continuous improvement mentality can be beneficial for everyone, but the task of giving feedback can also bring up feelings of anxiety and worry. It can feel like actively seeking conflict, rather than just supporting your colleagues and company. In this week’s Workplace Wednesday, we take a well-being approach to giving feedback, making the process a positive experience for everyone. Here’s how.
BEFORE SHARING FEEDBACK
Before you give feedback, it’s helpful to use Insight, a pillar in the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being, to pay attention to the thoughts and beliefs that you hold about how the conversation might go and how it might be received. Don’t let those beliefs run the show. Be open to the possibility that the conversation may go differently than you believe.
Set an intention, and reflect on it. Why are you giving this individual feedback? Having a constructive intention to help the individual be their best, and to support the well-being of the organization can help you arrive in the discussion with a positive and open mind. See if you can connect with this motivation (an aspect of Purpose, the fourth pillar in the Healthy Minds Framework) that you’re giving feedback to help the person develop and grow, and remember that your intention is positive.
IN THE CONVERSATION
Often it’s great to hear the other person’s perspective first – what do they think? People have a lot of wisdom and often more self-awareness than we give them credit. Asking questions helps them cultivate this self-awareness and also creates openness and receptivity to the conversation.
When you share feedback, be specific. Share observations of specific situations and the impact of their work or behavior. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to offer feedback, especially if it is not positive. This is where practicing the first pillar of the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being, Awareness, can be helpful. Notice the sensations and discomfort that might arise within you. See if you can allow these feelings without resisting or getting caught up in them.
There’s always the reality that sometimes the feedback may not be well received. See if you can hold that response with compassion, part of the Connection pillar of the Health Minds Framework, knowing that sometimes it can be painful to hear difficult feedback.
Approaching these conversations with a perspective of vulnerability can be extremely helpful for both you and the person receiving feedback. When we share that we all have things to work on, it can soften feedback and bring feelings of interconnectedness to working relationships.
Finally, keeping a wider context of strengths in mind can put things in perspective. Our strengths often have shadow sides, and sometimes areas of opportunity are just byproducts of our strengths. (For example, maybe you are passionate about your work, but that passion translates to speaking over folks in meetings which can give colleagues the impression that their opinions do not matter.) But if we come to the discussion with an attitude of growth and learning, both for oneself, and to support the other person, giving feedback does not have to be a miserable experience for either involved.
Reflect on how the conversation went and how you can grow in your feedback delivery as well. But, don’t forget to notice the positive! How did that conversation go well? Can you reflect on the positive aspect?
When we keep in mind that these conversations offer the opportunity for self-discovery and improvement, we can quiet our own feelings of worry and support the growth of our colleagues, and our workplace culture, as well.
Learn more about how the Healthy Minds Framework can support your workplace well-being with Healthy Minds @Work or join our intensive public MasterClass to learn the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being on your time.