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Feedback is an essential element within the business sphere. It can be used to improve your business as a whole or help identify where you may make further improvements. It can be internally or externally driven and may not always be positive. Essentially, feedback is a driving force behind a business’ growth and should be sought out and given by you to create a direct line of communication that the feedback is being received and put back into the business.
It is crucial to consider the following when you ask for feedback:
- Who you are requesting feedback from and why
- How to use the feedback effectively after receiving it
- How your business can improve as a result of the feedback
- What is/isn’t working for your business, and how you can address it
You can request feedback from:
- Those who report to you (you can go down a few levels)
- Those above you (you can go up a few levels)
- Colleges in the same team/group
- Colleges in other teams/groups
- Vendors, suppliers and external contractors
As a business owner, it is crucial that you receive honest and constructive feedback while also providing it to your employees. To do so, one needs to ensure that the feedback is:
- As specific and as close as possible to an event
- Given and received in a safe place in an appropriate setting and time
- Not judgemental or personal
- Constructive and actionable
When receiving feedback, try to listen, reflect and respond.
Listen to the feedback provided to you, even if it makes you want to react immediately to it. Delay defending yourself, and listen closely to what exactly is being said. Internalise the feedback, and ask questions to clarify what they are saying to give yourself a concrete understanding.
After receiving feedback, reflect on what was said with an open mind and understand the context in which the feedback has come from. Is it helpful feedback that you can use to improve or change accordingly? Rather than think “that wasn’t my intention” about the feedback, consider how it could have been perceived differently from the other’s view.
Giving feedback, particularly when it is negative, can be a daunting task. Respond with a thank you to the feedback, as it promotes a positive response irrespective of the nature of the feedback.