Friday, June 27, 2008

Why is feedback important?

People need feedback. Most people don't see themselves as others see them. For this reason, they often don't understand the impact their actions have on others. They have "blind spots." For example, people don't always know when their work is appreciated, and they aren’t always sure when they’re causing problems. Even well intentioned and hard-working people rely on ingrained patterns for success. Because they aren’t always conscious of what comes naturally, they may be the only ones who don't know that they’re adversely affecting the performance of their group.

Performance improvement.
Feedback is essential to learning. If people don't fully appreciate their strengths, how can they use them to their advantage? If they aren't sure how their actions create problems, how will they know what to change, and will they have the motivation to improve?

Motivation. People who take a professional attitude toward their work want feedback. They want to know what’s working and what isn't. They want to know if managers are pleased with their performance. They want to contribute to solutions, not be the cause of problems. They don't like having blind spots, and they want to know how to improve. They’re willing to invest in themselves to achieve better results, because they know this will increase their value in the career marketplace.

The challenge. As valuable and as desirable as it is, constructive feedback is not a regular occurrence in most workplaces. The most common reasons:
• They usually find it uncomfortable to confront each other about performance issues.
• Most people aren’t sure how to give feedback effectively.
• Very few people like accepting negative feedback.