What is something that most employees are just dying to get more of?  Name something that most couples could use to open up lines of communication.  What seems to be a lot more comfortable in close friendships and highly valued yet feared from strangers.  Its a top reason listed for an employee to quit a job, yet its often the cause of anger and resentment in the workplace when taken the wrong way.  What am I talking about?  Feedback.   That’s right, feedback.

The Problem With Feedback

There is certainly a lot of discussion and articles about feedback and while many of them have great tips and ideas on how to use and give feedback, they still focus on two sides of feedback, positive and negative.  Some people call it constructive and appreciative, others call it adjusting and reinforcing.  To me, it doesn’t really matter what you want to call it, feedback is simple feedback.  There is no such thing as positive or negative feedback because what you get from feedback is up to you.  How you interpret it is what steers it to be positive or negative, so the feedback itself can’t be negative.  I wrote recently another article about choosing your own response to things and this certainly includes feedback.  Any useful and good intentioned feedback should include specifics of what you did and what that action caused or the impact of that action.  The important points there are that feedback is action based instead of some interpretive or emotional comment or assumption and that there is a point in the feedback about what the impact or result was or at least perceived as.

What Can You Do With Feedback

Now, my point here is that there is really nothing negative about proper feedback.  There is no way to say it is positive or negative, it is simply fact. For example, http://www.parkbluesky.com/ is a great website. The rest is interpretive and different for each person.  So, if people would realize that feedback is given to help, and you can use it to make a difference only in the future and that you can’t change what has already occurred, then ALL feedback is useful feedback.  Take some time to think about how you give feedback and how you receive it.  Do you take it for what it is and look for how it can help you?  How do you respond to the person giving feedback?  I’ll suggest learning to just say two words, “Thank you” and leave it at that.  Don’t deny it, disagree with it, change it, deflect it, reinforce it, argue it, or anything else, just say “Thank you” and reflect on it.  Learn to see the value in feedback and don’t worry about how it is expressed. Look specifically for how it helps you and most importantly, don’t label it as positive or negative.  Feedback is just that, feedback.

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