Got Feedback? Part I

October 25, 2013 by Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC

This is the first post in my two-part series “Got Feedback?” (read Part II).
 

Are you getting enough positive and encouraging feedback at work? Or do you work in isolation at home or in an environment that minimizes interaction and praise? Did you ever think that not getting regular feedback puts you at risk of being unable to describe what you do that’s unique, special and of interest to employers? Or it could leave you feeling unsure about what you do and your potential to do more.

Wouldn’t it be great to receive knowledgeable and supportive coaching to improve a skill that’s important to you? Alternatively, negative feedback over time can lower your self-esteem and impact your ability to see your own value, making it hard to consider moving on to new and better opportunities.

The value of feedback was brought home to me again this year after talking with several talented and accomplished professionals, who after working alone for years, had few words to describe their strengths and transferable skills. Without the mirror of feedback, they were stuck, and unable to recognize and name what would impress a hiring manager.

Many of us struggle to name our gifts. We need outside perspective and encouragement, other people reflecting back to us to confirm and validate qualities and abilities we use every day but don’t see and possibly take for granted.

Business colleagues and bosses typically only let you know if there’s a problem. If these people withhold positive feedback and acknowledgement, search for a way to get the feedback you need. If your boss or supervisor is unavailable, perhaps clients, peers, or vendors and colleagues with other organizations are in a position to provide insight. They may spontaneously offer, “Thanks for a great job,” and maybe a more specific credit, “the way you handled that tough customer showed considerable diplomacy and product knowledge.” The more specific the feedback the better it is. Learn more about what worked from their standpoint.

Let them know it’s helpful for you to hear what you did that was working and some how productive so you can build on it. Thank them for their kindness, their thoughtfulness and return the favor if appropriate. Thanking and showing people appreciation reinforces them, helps them to “keep it up” with these things that matter most.

We are wired to navigate towards positive impressions, receptions and invitations. What’s more secure than a warm “hello” and a firm handshake? (And who isn’t looking for less risk in their life style choices? Unless you’re prone to take chances and value the high dive.)

Look for opportunities to give others news of their effectiveness or creative impact as well as seek out your own best opportunities to receive valuable feedback from people you respect. Let’s change our work cultures to benefit everyone.

In the sequel to “Got Feedback?”, coming shortly, we’ll get more at the benefits getting feedback has for anyone navigating through uncertainty and work with “no fear” concepts. Hope you’ll stay tuned. (Update: read Part II here.)

 
Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job