Why Feedback Matters
Before you leave your apartment each day, chances are you will look in the mirror.
By looking in the mirror, you get feedback. Immediate feedback on the way you look. That feedback makes you feel good right? This “checking-in” daily ritual process makes you more self-aware and increases confidence.
But…when was the last time you “checked in” on your communication skills? When was the last time you asked a peer or senior manager about how you performed after completing an important communication exchange?
Never?! That is the most common answer given when I ask managers and staff at many multi-national companies.
It’s strange when you think about it. We spend the whole day communicating in one form or another but we rarely ask for feedback from peers and managers on how we are doing. Essentially we spend days, months or even years at work without “looking in the mirror.”
Unlocking Your Blind Spots
Yet, getting feedback from others is extremely important. It will unlock your “blind sports”. From my own experience of having delivered feedback to thousands of staff , the unlocking of these blind spots is immensely satisfying. It is normally accompanied by a “wow, no-one ever told me this” or “I can’t believe I never knew this before” and “I wish someone had told me this before. ”
The Johari window developed by Joe Luft + Harry Ingham is a simple tool which highlights the importance of reducing your blind spot area- it will help increase self-awareness and enhance mutual understanding between individuals in a group.
The tool has 4 regions or areas as can be seen in the picture below:
As the model shows below, by asking/getting feedback from peers and managers;
Your “open” area will be enlarged + Your “blind spot” + “hidden areas” will be reduced.
With this open area or arena enlarged, communication and chances of misunderstandings and misinterpretation will be reduced. Other associated benefits include stronger relationships and mutual trust between team members.
Note that managers and leaders will play a big role here. A “safe” working culture needs to be present for feedback to take place amongst team members. Only with a safe environment established, staff will then feel comfortable to ask for and disclose feedback.
However giving feedback is anything but easy. The receiver can feel it is too personal, unclear or the feedback can lead a negative result instead of the intended positive one.
Look out for Part 2 (5 guiding principles before giving feedback) and Part 3 (how to deliver feedback in 3 easy steps) in this feedback trilogy series to ensure that this doesn’t happen.