Is feedback a gift or a punch in the mouth? Depends on how it’s done

Posted On August 2, 2018

Is feedback really a gift?

We like to say that it is, but sometimes it feels like a punch in the mouth.

That’s because feedback is often not given or received in a way that allows it to be appreciated or effective. To be effective, it has to be appreciated – or at least accepted.

So says our guest in this episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” – Michael Nash of Nash Consulting, whose 18 years of direct executive management experience and 20 years of work as a consultant, executive coach and trainer are a testament to the wisdom of feedback being too important to “shoot from the hip.”

If a manager wants his feedback to have its intended effect – to change behavior – he or she really needs to think about not only what to say, but how to say it.

The important thing to know about feedback, Nash says, is that it can trigger our natural fear response – fight, flight or freeze – and result in defensiveness. And when we get defensive, we stop learning.

Nash goes beyond the basics to more nuanced lessons in effective feedback: the importance of tone in conveying compassion and camaraderie, a small but common word to avoid that may be a trigger for defensiveness, the importance of building a relationship before offering feedback, and why we must stick to feedback about behavior and not character or attitude.

“Nobody responds well when somebody tries to give them feedback about their attitude,” Nash says.

He also shares how to effectively accept feedback, from the internal work of accepting it with the proper mindset to the external work of acting on it.

Join us for a discussion on how to communicate more effectively and less defensively.

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Podcast, Workplace