Want Better Feedback? Ask, Understand and Grow

“Thanks for the feedback!” Walking down the hall in the office, I overhear this statement. It’s a common saying these days. I think about how feedback has impacted our culture, smiling in gratitude. 

Not too long ago, our culture was overrun with conflict avoidance. We were afraid to ask for feedback, not knowing what to do with the feedback that was given. Team members would rather not say anything at all than speak the truth in love. Feedback was something you got once a year, twice if you were lucky, in your annual evaluation. Coaching feedback was fleeting. One time, I heard about a supervisor who wasn’t pleased with a team member’s work. Instead of giving points on how to be better, she ripped up the workpapers, threw them on the floor and said “do it again.” And, appreciation feedback was even more of an elusive unicorn. We walked around with blinders on and arms crossed — unwilling to be vulnerable or open to growth.

But then came the day when we dug into what Belonging at HORNE really means. How can we make our sense of belonging stronger? We started connecting the dots between conflict avoidance and giving/receiving feedback well. Thanks for the Feedback became the #1 book on our office bookshelves. We dug into this new philosophy in workshops and book clubs, and actually practiced receiving feedback well (which by default made us better feedback givers).

What a watershed moment for this firm! We learned that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to giving feedback, and spent time developing a "Guide to Working with Me" to share our preferences for receiving feedback. This feedback movement has given us a common language as we journey the Wise Firm way with a Continuous Growth Philosophy.

Three strategies have helped me in my feedback quest: ask, understand, and grow.

ASK.  Since we have this common language, I feel empowered to ask for the feedback that I want and need — even the specific type of feedback that I need (appreciation, coaching or evaluation)!  Asking for feedback helps me reduce the blind spots in my life.

UNDERSTAND.  If I don’t understand the feedback, I ask questions that peel back the layers and get to the true heart of the feedback. This has been a mindset change for me! I’ve moved from an instinctual “that’s wrong” to a “tell me more” reaction. And if coaching feedback is what I need, I’ve learned that any piece of feedback can be turned into a coaching session by opening up, digging in and asking questions.

GROW.  I use feedback as an opportunity to learn something, knowing that I’m not stuck and can grow to obtain better results — to have a stance of open-handed vulnerability instead of cross-armed defensiveness. 

Feedback is a life-changing way to #beEvenBetter. I encourage you to take these three strategies and see how you can use them in your feedback quest.

THANKS for the feedback, HORNE! 

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About the Author

Emily_ParrishEmily is a senior manager at HORNE LLP where she primarily serves the franchise team by building strong teams and standardizing training. As a member of HORNE’s Personnel Committee, her calling to love others helps guide our team members to reach their full potential. 

Topics: Feedback

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