WEST Wisdom Blog

Giving & Receiving Feedback Can Be Awkward, But It Doesn’t Have to Be

Posted by Courtney Cyron on Jul 18, 2023 9:31:03 PM

A manager needs to be equipped with an arsenal of communication skills that cover everything2023-07-25 from explaining the goals of a project, presenting progress updates, providing subject-matter training, and so much more. The most important communication skill is the ability to give and receive feedback. 

WEST’s first event in the Summertime Management Skills Series focused on the importance of a manager effectively delegating work to their team. This skill enables a manager to remove the tasks from their plate that are preventing them from focusing on their big-picture and strategic planning. Delegating also enables a team to feel engaged, challenged, and fulfilled in their work. However, it also creates the need for feedback communication. Once a manager has delegated a task, they then need to give and receive feedback from their team to ensure that their team understands the task, and has the resources they need to complete it. 

Often, when you think about feedback conversations you think about annual review meetings. While most employees do not look forward to these conversations, they don’t realize that their “managers are terrified of these conversations as well”. Too often managers avoid offering meaningful constructive feedback because they don’t know how to do so in a way that feels comfortable and supportive. What’s more, many managers miss the opportunity to offer positive feedback on a regular basis. Research shows that the most productive and successful teams are those where positive feedback is offered on a regular basis. It is even more important to share feedback that highlights your team members’ strengths and talents than it is to focus on what is not working.”

Etta Jacobs, MA, PCC, will be leading the second event in this series: “Giving & Receiving Feedback - Discover How to Make These Conversations Easier for Both of You!”

She will teach you how to give feedback to your colleagues—and even your boss—in a way that feels safe and supportive. She shares that each of us holds many assumptions around the purpose and proper delivery of feedback. Whether due to cultural differences, or a conditioned fear, “everyone has different expectations around giving and receiving feedback.” Some cultures view feedback as rude and disrespectful, while others view it as supportive and motivating. Some people may fear feedback conversations because they had managers who were harsh and negative. 

Etta explains that, “the way we prefer to give and receive feedback is the way we believe is the right way.” If managers don’t take the time to learn how their team members feel most comfortable receiving  feedback, they miss the opportunity to support their colleagues in a meaningful and productive way. Their feedback will likely not be well-received. 

“But, it can feel awkward asking an employee what they need to succeed,” says Etta. “However, if you avoid this conversation because you don’t know how to ask what your team member needs, or if you assume you know the best way to offer feedback, you are likely holding your team back.

Etta learned about the importance of giving feedback through her many years in the corporate world, where she directed a wide range of teams and offered feedback on a regular basis. Her goal for the participants in this workshop will be for them to recognize that not all feedback is negative, and that to build a highly functional team, you need to offer ongoing encouragement, appreciation as well as corrective feedback. She will demonstrate ways you can have these ongoing conversations in a way that feels safe for you, as the manager, as well as the person on the receiving end.” 

Delegating is only the first key to a manager’s success, communicating feedback is the second key. It allows a manager to openly give feedback and to invite constructive requests from their team. Having effective two-way communication at all levels is the key to success!

Join Executive Coach Etta Jacobs, MA, PCC and members of the WEST community, on July 25th from 6:00-8:00 PM at bluebird bio in Somerville, MA for the second event in this series: “Giving & Receiving Feedback - Discover How to Make These Conversations Easier for Both of You!”

Topics: Leadership, Communication, Leader, Professional, Management, Developing Your Skills, Career Development, STEM Leadership

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