At work, it is now ever-more popular to give and receive feedbacks routinely. These business guys, these doctors, and even these video game makers all talk about giving frequent feedbacks makes you a better whatever-it-is-that-you-do. Unfortunately, very few people talked about the other person – what does one do when all these feedbacks started coming your way from well-intentioned leaders?
A standard feedback format I used to get in medical school goes like this:
“Excellent work this rotation. You invested in your fund of knowledge and it showed. But you can be a little bit more vocal about your medical opinions even if it means you would disagree with the team. Your clinical skills are otherwise solid, and overall good job!”
If you get this piece of feedback, the first reaction is probably to work on the weakness (becoming more vocal), but increasing amount of research is revealing that to be the wrong approach to feedbacks.
Educator and author Peter Drucker has written extensively about the self development. On many of his slide decks the word “weakness” is curiously absent. Success is built on strengths, and he argues that when given a choice, one should always further develop one’s strengths. Building on Drucker’s work, there are now a very large body of work on finding your strengths, developing your strengths, using your strengths.
So good feedback isn’t really flattery. It is a hint that we should work harder on those qualities. Praises feel good, and they make us better performers too.