12 April 2015

I am excited to share with you that Jenn Lofgren and I are gearing up for our 2nd ‘The Daring Way for Leaders Intensive Retreat’ being held on May 22-24, 2015. One of the many areas that we delve into with participants during the retreat is the concept and application of meaningful feedback.

According to Brené Brown’s 10 years research and what we have also found to be true, giving, receiving and soliciting feedback consistently and effectively has become rare. Feedback is often only used when there is an issue that can no longer be ignored. What is it that is required to provide effective feedback? What is it that gets in the way of consistent, meaningful feedback? How can we set it on the course of success?

There are various things that are required of those giving feedback:
1.  Set an environment that is conducive to feedback
2.  Provide ongoing as well as ‘on time’ feedback
3.  Deliver both positive and constructive feedback and lead from strengths
4.  Be empathetic – put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the feedback
5.  Practice self compassion – it is hard to be empathetic while being hard on oneself

Feedback requires vulnerability on behalf of both the giver and receiver. Do you remember a time when you felt you needed to give feedback and felt weak in the knees, a quickly beating heart, shallow breathing, or a pit in your stomach? This discomfort is natural. We are sharing our impressions about somebody else and, whether it is positive or negative, we have no control over the response. It is fraught with potential risk. We have to be willing to put it out there with the best intentions and know that it is not comfortable.

On the other hand, if we do not provide feedback, we cannot provide the opportunity for transformation. When people are unaware of their blind spots, they cannot do anything about them. Feedback is a gift that provides awareness. Without feedback, people do not know where they stand. They fill in the blanks and often with negative thoughts. This breeds fear and discontentment, a feeling of being on shaky ground. This may then lead to disengagement.

And, when we do choose to give feedback, delivering it needs to be done in a way that inspires people, is supportive, and is easy for the person receiving it to absorb. Positive psychology studies show that a minimum of 3:1 positive to constructive messaging is the minimum that we humans work well with. In times of change, 5:1 is recommended. These messages can be provided over time and not necessarily all at one sitting. People then feel safe and valued, and also that, when we do provide constructive feedback, we are doing so with the intention of it being in their best interests and to assist their learning and growth.

Feedback is one of the various topics we explore in our The Daring Way TM for Leaders Intensive Retreat. Join us May 22-24, 2015. For more information, click here.

I offer a snippet of one of the testimonials from our January 2015 retreat: “… Not only did I get the opportunity to explore further the concepts presented in Brené Brown’s work, but with the careful guidance of Jenn and Jamie, it gave me a real life experience to see how people, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, can and do form effective teams through vulnerability. The belief in a standard prototype leader is outdated; people are looking for authenticity, and it’s one of the greatest gifts we can offer.”