Leader Hacks: Give More Feedback

Leadership Hacks is an ongoing series from the Reverend Blythe Cody. Here you will find ideas from experts in neuroscience, psychology, theology, time management and organisation, communication, technology, and education. In this series you will find leadership ideas and strategies that will make you a more effective, fruitful leader.

Feedback is crucial for building good relationships within an organisation. When feedback is frequently exchanged it increases engagement, productivity, effectiveness and satisfaction. So if feedback is so beneficial, what keeps some organisations from developing this practice? It may be that we underestimate how much others want to receive constructive feedback, the extent to which recipients will find the feedback helpful, and consequently whether or not they will be grateful for it.

This dilemma is demonstrated by a recent research study that found that less than 3 percent of people gave feedback when prompted,  compared to the 86 percent of people who indicated that they wanted to receive feedback. The reason so few gave feedback? They didn’t think that people truly wanted it. The study found that people consistently underestimated others’ desire for feedback. The more consequential the situation, the more people underestimated the desire for feedback.

How do you overcome this reluctance to give feedback?

Imagine how much you would want the feedback if you were the other person.

You want to know when you have something on your face or in your teeth, if you are mispronouncing or misspelling a word, if there is a flaw in your plan or if you are being offensive. Most people indicated that constructive feedback was almost always something that they would want to receive. Remembering this will help you realize how much others want to receive feedback and will make you more likely to actually give it.

Key takeaway: People want our feedback more than we realise.