Since the start of our Values Based Leadership journey, back in 2003, we have aspired to become a feedback rich organization. All of our associates have been trained to be mindful when giving feedback and gracious when receiving it. Our go-to tagline for the enterprise objective is “feedback is a gift” and we measure how well we are doing in our annual engagement survey.
A month or so back I received some very real, candid, and well delivered feedback from one of my direct reports. The issue could not have been more black and white with little to no wiggle room in the behavior questioned. Adding to the validity of the feedback is the fact that the action in question is one I have been trying to improve on for quite some time.
So, was the feedback mindfully delivered? I would say yes. Did I receive it with grace? I believe so. And did it feel like I was unpacking a present, “receiving a gift”- not on your life! As a matter of fact I remember thinking as the courageous associate walked away that I could not think of a time when I was getting a cool shirt or shiny new watch for my birthday that I felt the way I did in that moment.
As with many stories in a Values Based Leadership culture there is an upside to this one, a silver lining, if you will. A few important points to consider are how the associate stuck with me after the fact, celebrating when I got it right and raising my awareness when I drifted. She also offered new ideas as a means to work around the issue and I was certainly receptive given her commitment to my success. And last was the positive feedback I began to receive from others when my behavior improved as our environment truly is feedback rich. The journey continues.
In sitting back and reflecting on the entire event I am reminded once again that yes, feedback very much is a gift; a gift that unpacks itself over time. The desired outcome of feedback is amplified when it is mindfully delivered and graciously received. It unpacks itself over time when the associate who is providing the feedback stays in the door with the full intent of ensuring the success of the person they are giving it to. And when the individual receiving the feedback believes the intent is pure and raises their commitment in reciprocation.
Gifts only exist to the extent that both are given and received. The same holds true for feedback. And how about you, have you been giving and/or receiving any lately?