getting feedback – Part 1

May 20, 2008 at 10:04 am | Posted in Professional Development | 1 Comment

As tough as it is to *give* someone negative feedback, surprisingly, it’s often as difficult to *get* it. Why is that? Here are five reasons that I think top the list.

1) Legal/HR issues. Nowadays you really have to document the process to the n’th degree, while always being aware of protected status issues and what is, or is not, on the table for discussion.

2) Confrontation. In a society like ours, you wouldn’t think this is an issue, but it is. Even those who seem very outwardly confrontational often are not. Still others seem full of aggression in email, but when talked to 1-on-1, you see a different side of them.

3) Effort. It takes time and effort on the part of the evaluator to pull together meaningful feedback.

4) Objective facts. Someone may feel as if you are doing a poor job, but can’t quite put their finger on exactly why, and folks are hesitant to say something as broad as “I just don’t think you’re doing a good job.”

5) Fear. Not, “this person might kill me” kind of fear, but rather fear of making the situation worse. This is particularly true if the person being addressed has a strong personality type.

With obstacles like that, it may be a rare situation indeed where you can get good, honest, useful feedback on the things you need to improve. Learning *how* to get that feedback can be as important as the feedback itself. And that’s what we’ll look at in our next post.

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