“Isn’t it a shame that we know so much about what makes feedback work and how it can really help people grow and develop and have higher performance but the reality is, that doesn’t reach most people.”
- Dr. Brodie Riordan
People are often more uncomfortable giving feedback than they are receiving it. That's where Dr. Brodie Riordan comes in. An industrial psychologist and feedback enthusiast, Brodie joined The Bo and Luke Show to share some key fundamentals in making feedback more approachable.
“Most people don’t know how to give feedback in a way that is effective and constructive and conducive to taking positive action," explained Brodie.
Our feedback orientation is how we feel about feedback based on past experience. When feedback feels judgmental or critical, it elicits a strong emotional reaction in the person receiving it and it is impossible to think rationally when we are emotionally charged. Brodie's advice? Let the emotional reaction pass!
Believe it or not, we can learn to love giving and receiving feedback.
“Every time that you are exchanging feedback with someone else, it’s an opportunity to either invest in or diminish that relationship," said Brodie.
1. Make your feedback as specific as possible.
We tend to be much more specific with negative feedback and vague with positive feedback, but regardless, the more specific your feedback is, the easier it is for people to do something with it. Specific feedback should tell you what you need to do to get closer to your goals.
2. Focus on the things you can see with your own eyes.
Be evidence based. Do not make assumptions. Two of the most important factors as the feedback provider are trust and credibility. Be sure you know what you are talking about.
3. Always focus on the behavior, not the person.
Feedback should be centered around what the person did, not who they are. The feedback you provide should be given to influence future behavior. Consider being forward looking versus backward looking. For example: “Next time this happens, why don’t you try XYZ…”
4. Provide feedback as soon as possible.
Don't store up your feedback over the course of the year waiting for the performance review or a formal conversation. Timely feedback shows that you care and enables the person to take action.
To rely on your own perceptions and judgements is hard. If you find you are not receiving feedback, don't be afraid to ask for it! Keep in mind the more specific you are in your ask, the higher quality feedback you’re going to get from other people. Be direct in what you want feedback on and use the information to improve your performance to achieve your goals.
Dr. Brodie Riordan earned her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Akron, where she taught introductory psychology and social psychology at the undergrad level. Brodie has authored over 2 dozen books, book chapters, and peer reviewed articles, including "Using Feedback in Organizational Consulting" - the first edition in an American Psychological Association series for consulting psychologists.
You can connect with Brodie on LinkedIn and listen to her complete podcast episode from Season 2: Let's Learn Something. Her book, Feedback Fundamentals and Evidence Based Practices, is available for sale on Amazon.