The feedback conundrum
In this digital age, feedback is one thing that we hear a lot especially in the startup community, businesses and of course in engineering! ( An attempt towards a joke as engineering consists of Control systems where feedback loop is mentioned!). We ask for feedback for our projects, events, products, programmes and everything which could be marked as an accomplishment. Is this because man as a social animal always needs approval ( for lack of a better word) from his peers or from the public.
Feedback is just like criticism — could be constructive or destructive ; positive or negative ; honest or dishonest; paid or organic ; good or bad. What role does feedback have in the decision making process in today’s world?
The first time as an individual we look for feedback is from our parents and relatives when we do good or be obedient as a young kid, we expect a reward or maybe a good word. This feedback itself is something far more vast than it looks like. Then we look for feedback from our friends in schools and colleges. I would say a good percentage of the decisions ( small or big) has been either advised by or suggested by peers.
Career choices- one choice we are all meant to do or the one important decision we are all meant to take also relies heavily on suggestions and advices. Once we set sail on a career again comes feedback, do this , don’t do that! Be this and be that.
Life partner choices- Again the so called eco system around as interferes with our decision/choice.
Lucky are those who choose their career and life partner without any or minimum external influence or negative feedback.
As every coin has two sides it is also evident that feedback also has another side, the feedback giving or if you put it simply someone else on the receiving end of the stick.
In terms of giving feedback my first impression was that I am great at that, until I realised feedback is not saying good things to impress your peers or bad things to people you don’t like in a consensus.
Feedback is not criticism, it is more of a mindful inspection by another.
This realisation helped me a lot in my current job.
Giving feedback is not easy but is a skill which should be learned in this corporate world. A good feedback should always contain a certain validation along with suggestions for improvement. These two complement each other. Without the validation, suggestions for improvement will just be seen in a different perspective. Once you praise it or validate it, your suggestions for improvement automatically becomes suggestions which has come through kinship rather than an ethereal blabber by a confused mind.
Sometimes this strategy does not work as the one who receives the feedback is in a completely different state of mind. There the feedback should be honest and to the point. If you stop a person from committing a mistake through your feedback, I would say that would be a good strategy to save a sinking ship rather than validating it and sinking it further.
Learn the art of giving good feedbacks, who knows it might just help you climb the ladder in the corporate world.