The Best Feedback
Feedback is a necessary part of growth and development. Without feedback we never understand how to improve our craft as a whole. It helps us reveal blind spots, understand our weaknesses, and develop our areas of improvement.
When we think about feedback, we often get uncomfortable. Feedback has a bad connotation of being negative. While feedback can be negative, we can also receive positive feedback. If we’re being honest though, I don’t like the phrase negative. I prefer to call it constructive feedback. At its core, feedback is meant to enhance or develop you – it isn’t intended to hurt you.
I’m going to share with you a few examples of when I’ve received feedback and how it’s impacted me.
First, let’s start with the constructive feedback.
This kind of feedback can be uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean it has to be though. It can be as simple as “hey Randi, you were unclear in your last email and that could come off as vague or condescending. Next time a situation like that comes up, be sure to explain why we came to that decision or how we got to that action plan. This helps the receiver of the information understand why the request is being made in place of being told to do something.”
This feedback was important because it directly told me what I had done wrong and it provided suggestions of how to prevent myself from making the same mistake in the future.
I learned that emotions can be lost in text. Because of this it’s always best to overcommunicate and explain the directions you’re giving or the ask you’re making.
This constructive feedback was helpful, direct, and not weird at all. Working for a coaching company, Ama La Vida, we’re really big on giving constructive feedback with a framework to ensure that it’s effective and helpful. I go into how this feedback framework works in more details here.
The thing about feedback is that not all feedback has to be negative or constructive.
Some feedback is positive and if we’re being honest, we all love positive feedback! Positive feedback is the pat on the back, the way to go, the metaphorical high-five that keeps us going when the going gets tough.
Positive feedback is often time less awkward and less polished.
It usually occurs more naturally in everyday conversation. Things like “good job!” or “this slide deck is stellar!” However, not all positive feedback is casual. It can be more formal too, like “I’m really proud of you for the way you advocated for yourself in this situation.”
Recently, the positive feedback that has stuck with me has been some very kind words around how I’ve learned to be thoughtful and intentional when advocating for myself. It’s one thing to demand something you think you deserve and another to ask for it in a way that makes the request approachable.
This feedback was impactful to me because I was terrified to say the wrong thing and I was afraid that my ask was too big. Receiving the feedback that it was done intentionally and thoughtfully gave me a boost of confidence and helped instill the belief that I was in fact my own best advocate.
So, feedback, let’s recap!
Not all feedback is awkward, not all feedback is constructive, and not all feedback has to be formal. A great way to open the dialogue for both constructive and positive feedback is to ask, “what went well and what could have gone better?” I challenge you to reflect on that at least once this week.
Randalyn Hill is one of our monthly contributors. After blogging for a combined total of over 200 days she started a creative newsletter in January of 2019. During that time, she started freelancing as a photographer and a content writer. Not long after she started full time at Ama La Vida she quickly realized she would get an opportunity to leave a creative imprint there as well through their social media and the company blog. Her current focuses outside of work are growing the creative community in Chicago and finding the best gluten free pizza around.