This is the third piece in a series on Bosspleasing. First, I described why it sucks. Last week I spoke about the benefits of becoming better user of feedback to help as a “boss”. This week, I am going to talk about becoming an ethical and useful feedback dealer as a “pleaser”.
Bruce Kasanoff says that “truth without compassion is brutality”. Herein lies the secret for dealing feedback. It’s not enough to be right or for the feedback to be correct. It’s not even enough to deliver feedback with the intent to be helpful and kind.
Feedback needs to be received with this intent.
For this to happen, there is a lot of work that needs to be done consistently over a period of time. To be a great dealer of feedback, you need to have established:
- Credibility – does the person receiving the information believe that you know something useful about this subject?
- Objectivity – does the person believe that you are able to separate the subject of the feedback from other factors like your own interests or other interests that may be at play?
- Positive regard – does the person receiving the feedback believe that you are doing this with their interests at heart?
This is the cost of entry to the feedback dealership. None of these happen overnight and are easily undone – keep demonstrating these things over time and you can start to provide useful feedback that is:
- Honest – is what you are saying true? What biases are you bringing to this and have you acknowledged these?
- Useful – is the information presented in a way that makes sense to the recipient in their current context?
- Applicable – can the recipient do something with the feedback?
I’m not suggesting that any of this stuff is easy. It is, however, the constant work that will separate the individuals, teams and organisations that thrive and those that languish.
My questions for you to consider are:
- When was the last time that your feedback ticked all three boxes – honest, useful and applicable?
- If you had to choose one thing to improve the way that your boss receives your feedback, what would it be?