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Providing and Receiving Feedback

We usually provide or receive feedback when someone observes a gap, either above or below, our actual performance and the level that is expected. When offering positive feedback, understanding your own style and that of the individual or group with whom you are working will enhance the effectiveness of your comments. We need to understand that our observations are being filtered through the lens of our own style. We need to form our feedback in ways that align with the style of the recipient so that it will be perceived as positive and helpful. Even praise for performance beyond expectations can be misunderstood if offered without consideration of circumstances and style preferences. Explorers often need to know in what ways their work breaks new ground or opens up new possibilities, while Developers appreciate knowing that their work efforts have made things better. Those with a Task focus appreciate feedback that is straightforward and based on the logic of the situation, while those with a People focus might appreciate more feedback that addresses the human aspects of the situation. A People focused individual receiving feedback that is very "cold" matter of fact, and logic based would be more receptive if he or she were able to understand that a Task focused individual was offering that feedback.

Example

One of Rita's responsibilities was to observe and evaluate the performance of several employees in her department. She tried to be careful in her preparations for the evaluation sessions. She made sure that she noted instances when the employees worked for consensus and were helpful to the others in the department. She gave praise for efforts that promised to break new ground, even when there was some risk involved. During the feedback session she would try to engage the employee in a dialogue aimed at helping the employee find new opportunities for growth. Rita considered Sue a good and productive individual, but Sue was a problem. Sue would not engage easily in conversation. Through office gossip, Rita learned that Sue felt unappreciated. Rita thought about her VIEW training and decided to try a different approach with Sue. Rita started to note that Sue's efforts provided stability and efficiency to the department. During the feedback session she made sure to mention Sue's ability to get to the heart of a problem and keep the department on task. Finally, she let Sue know that an immediate reaction was not necessary. She gave Sue a day or two to think about her feedback and set then set up another appointment to discuss areas for growth and improvement. After two such sessions Rita began to observe that Sue seemed more relaxed in her situation.

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