Experts advise: what to do to make the feedback conversation a success? | Business

Experts advise: what to do to make the feedback conversation a success? | Business
Experts advise: what to do to make the feedback conversation a success? | Business

Business consultant and psychotherapist Brigita Kaleckaitė confirms that the topic is significant and sensitive both in Lithuania and around the world. “One gets the impression that there is never enough feedback, the process is always insufficient, not what one would like. Millions of euros are spent on training, but the problems are not solved,” she points out.

According to the specialist, although many believe that they will be able to both give and receive feedback, various disturbances can occur on both sides. However, more often than not, accepting feedback is problematic. Jaunius Danielius, who has experienced such difficulties at the beginning of his career and works as a product manager at the startup Omnisend, remembers. “For a long time, I used to get a lot of feedback. I took the conversation very personally and thought that the person who gave the negative feedback didn’t like me,” he smiles.

The man managed to change this attitude later. In the opinion of business consultant B. Kaleckaitė, more attention is needed for the party receiving the feedback. “We humans are governed by many unconscious processes. Many want to listen and understand, but few take the time to develop these skills. Therefore, it can be useful in organizations to learn not only to give, but also to receive feedback”, suggests B. Kaleckaitė.

From the expert’s point of view, it is worth doing, because high-quality and properly understood feedback contributes to a supportive work environment, efficiency and productivity.

Different things grow

B. Kaleckaitė tells us that the way feedback is provided depends a lot on our childhood experiences, cultural differences, and communication traditions. “I have worked in Sweden, where specialists needed to be trained to show dissatisfaction and express negative thoughts, while Lithuanians need to be reminded to praise employees more often,” she says.

However, according to the expert, there is no one-size-fits-all formula that works for everyone. Some employees will tend to ignore praise, while others will not make changes until they receive clear, negative feedback.

At a certain point, the feedback also changed J.Danielaus’ career. “A former manager said I was ‘good at IT.’ That was enough for me – I got inspired and believed that I really could, so I started learning about technology, I devoted a lot of time to it,” he said.

However, according to the specialist, it should not deviate to either side: although positive feedback can inspire us to try and take another step, according to J.Danielaus, without expressing negative observations, we are not really doing our job to the end. By avoiding uncomfortable, conflict situations, we really risk simply postponing them for the future – because it is likely that the unwanted behavior of a colleague will be repeated and because of it, time will be wasted, results and the atmosphere in the team will suffer.

The ways are various

Consultant B. Kaleckaitė says that feedback can take various forms. “There is formal feedback provided once a year, semi-annually, quarterly. But it’s also informal – given and received on a daily basis,” she explains. According to the expert, it is currently fashionable to emphasize the informal.

“I think this trend is very useful. A colleague receives an evaluation of his actions immediately and can change his work methods instead of waiting six months,” says B. Kaleckaitė. However, she warns that informal, daily feedback can be of lower quality – if we are not prepared, we may blurt out what we really wanted to say, or express our observations at the wrong time.

J.Danielius says that he likes informal feedback, because in this case it is sometimes possible to have a better, more detailed conversation. “The more time that passes since the situation, the more difficult it is to remember all the details in good quality.” I try to note a specific fact when it happens and share this information and my assessment with a colleague in the shortest possible time. Also, if sometimes it’s worth talking to a wider circle of people – they also complement my vision and help me be more objective. At Omnisend, we also use comprehensive feedback forms for this,” he said.

According to B. Kaleckaitė, questionnaires, algorithms or other preparations can be very useful for less experienced people. These tools help you understand how to talk to a colleague, what phrases to say, what the tone should be, the flow of the conversation. Unfortunately, in this case, there is a risk that filling out the document will become the central axis of the conversation, and the exchange of feedback will remain only a formality that will not help to agree and build a connection.

“It is very important that you communicate authentically, take into account the specific situation – not only what you wanted to remember and discuss, but also what is happening here and now.” Although it is often advised to speak only in a friendly, warm manner, in fact, people need a very individual, and most importantly, lively approach. A monotonous and formal feedback conversation eventually loses its flavor and meaning,” says B. Kaleckaitė.

According to her, a really good feedback conversation starts long before sitting down at the same table or joining a remote call. “The key to successful feedback is relationship. We only care about feedback from people we care about, or those we trust. The feedback conversation is really just another conversation, an opportunity to understand each other on a much longer journey,” says the expert.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: Experts advise feedback conversation success Business


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