Feedback would happen all the time if…

This is my blog post for the feedback carnival, conceived and curated by Helen Amery.  It is my attempt to answer the question:

Feedback would happen all the time if…

…..we treated it like a gift to the other person, and placed their benefit entirely at its heart.

I need to give him some feedback.

So often when we think about giving feedback, we do so in the context of dealing with an issue or solving a problem.   How often have we said or heard a variant on that phrase?  But what we really mean is that the person is doing something that we don’t like, and we want them to make a change.

Sometimes, we only think to give feedback about the bad stuff and not the good.

Sometimes when we give feedback, we are asking someone else to make a change because it benefits us.

Sometimes, when we give feedback it is more about what we want, than what the other person needs to hear.

Often, feedback takes place only within formal structures, because we are told to do so.  A form and a desk, the barrier between us.

Can I give you some feedback?

Another phrase that can have many meanings.  Sometimes, a genuine intention to help.  Sometimes, just opinion and judgement in disguise.

But instead, what if we gave feedback with a mindset of total care and compassion?  Actively searched out the good stuff to provide feedback on and for?  What if we made it a gift to be treasured, and not a nicely wrapped but empty parcel?

I remember a time when I gave what I hope was sensitive and constructive feedback.  My desire, simply to be helpful, met with shock and surprise.  Not about the observation that formed the basis of the feedback, but that I did it at all.  It was the first time, so they told me, that anyone had bothered to do so.

Maybe feedback would take place all the time, if only we could reframe its core purpose.

Whilst this post was sat in draft, the always fabulous Julie Drybrough published one, also on the theme ‘feedback as a gift’.  You can read her post here

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