Most people avoid giving constructive feedback because they are worried about destroying relationships. But why does feedback hurt so much?
Giving feedback is a key leadership skill, and creating an environment where feedback is expected and accepted should be the goal of every service.
So, if we know it’s so important why do we avoid it.
At the heart of receiving feedback is a clash between two key human desires:
- The need to learn and grow, and
- The need to feel accepted and respected for who we are.
We’re wired to enjoy learning and growing. It’s a big part of what brings satisfaction and accomplishment to life. I can point to the many times that I ’ve learnt and grown from feedback in my past.
But we also need to feel accepted, respected, and safe just the way we are now. And that’s why feedback is such a conundrum. It can be enormously threatening because the very fact that someone is giving us negative feedback suggests that the way we are now is not quite right.
But there is a better way!
You can create an environment where feedback is expected and accepted
and even in those instances where constructive feedback is given, Educators can leave the interaction feeling reflective and inspired.
The foundation for creating an environment where feedback is expected and accepted is to develop a culture of constant inquiry.
A culture of constant inquiry starts with the ability to ask great questions. Questions are also a powerful tool for promoting thinking and learning. Asking great questions is at the heart of effective communication and the secret to great leadership.
By asking the right questions you can gather better information and learn more; you can build stronger relationships, manage people more effectively and ultimately deliver better feedback.
Questions unlock and open doors that otherwise remain closed. They allow us to see things from different perspectives. It’s important to remove the negative stigma attached to the process of asking questions. The Nominated Supervisor says to the Educator, “Why didn’t you put the bikes out today?” The Educator becomes defensive, “Have I done something wrong?” The Educator fires back.
All too often questions signal a reprimand.
The first step in giving great feedback is to establish that questions are simply an attempt to gain more information, to get better insight and to understand perspectives. Great leaders can ask questions which denote a positive sense of genuine inquiry.
Begin your feedback journey by asking great questions
- What was your vision for setting up the yard today?
- If you could have any resources you wanted, what experience would you design for the children?
- What was your inspiration for that experience?
- If you could have your time again how would you handle that situation?
- If you were a child, what would it look like?
- If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
One final thought—we only accept feedback from people we trust. Start by asking great questions and building trust.
To learn more about creating a culture of feedback, join us for The Leadership Academy.