Book: Thanks for the Feedback

thanks_for_the_feedbackThe premise of Thanks for the Feedback (Amazon) is that we should get better at receiving feedback. I started feeling a little resentful of that because I think most feedback is bad (and quickly turns into advice). But I quickly got over it because the book is really helpful, and yes, it gave me some better tools to receive feedback, but that’s not passive – it gave me ways to be more involved in the feedback so that I get the kind of feedback I want and need in a way that is useful. AND it gave me some tools to better give feedback, too.

I was recommending this book to people before I had finished it, so spoiler: I think it’s great and I really recommend it (especially if feedback is important part of your job, e.g. you’re a manager). But some highlights that I pulled from it:

  • We have three reactions to feedback: truth, relationship and identity.
    • Truth: just feels wrong – it’s not inline with the facts we have.
    • Relationship: this is a reaction to your relationship with the feedback giver.
    • Identity: makes you question how you see yourself.
  • Three types of feedback: appreciation, coaching and evaluation.
    • Appreciation: I see you and I value you.
    • Coaching: direction / suggestions / guidance.
    • Evaluation: where are you?
    • We need to distinguish between types – often we hear evaluation in coaching, and it makes us anxious. We might need the evaluation before we can get the coaching.
  • “Wrong spotting” in feedback: where we look for what is wrong about the feedback and reasons to discount it. Look for what could be write about it instead.
  • Feedback is where information becomes judgement, skewed via the experiences of the person giving it.
    • To understand the information, ask questions.
  • Blind spot: we focus on our intentions and the situation, others focus on our impact.
  • Feedback is a mirror: honest mirrors and supportive mirrors.
    • Our friends are often supportive mirrors, don’t necessarily say what they really think.
    • Need honest mirrors. Ask “how am I getting in my own way?”
  • Look at a system: it’s rare that just one person needs to change, there are interactions.
    • Take a step back, look at the system, break the cycles.
  • Take a growth mindset and score yourself for how you respond to the feedback – not just what the feedback is.
    • The first score is the feedback (the evaluation).
    • The “second score” is what you do with it.
    • Doing well with the second score pays off over time.
  • You get to have boundaries around feedback: what you want, when you want it, who you choose to accept it from.
    • It’s fine to set those boundaries. If you choose not to take it, and it effects others, work with them to mitigate it.
  • Coach your coach – understand how you take feedback best, and help them give it to you in a way you can process.

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