According to most of us in the field of coaching and consulting, we'd say pretty dang important. Feedback is a conversation, and just like a conversation, there's a give and take, a back and forth. Not only is delivery of feedback important, but one could argue how you respond to feedback is equally, if not more, important. Think of a moment where you have given someone feedback and they respond in a negative, or even neutral way. How did that make you feel right after that delivery? How did your opinion change regarding the person you gave the feedback to? This doesn't even have to be a business relation. The fact is that feedback has the ability to shape our opinions and future interactions based on a single moment. Therefore, it's vital to have every interaction, or give and take, be executed in a manner that incorporates emotional intelligence, understanding, and appropriate timing.
What is emotional intelligence, exactly?
This is key! Having an operational definition is important to being on the same page. So is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously What does this mean for you in your workplace? LISTEN to people, reflect back what they're feeling. If they're emotional, sympathize where they are coming from. If they're confused, answer their confusion. Emotional intelligence means understanding yourself and others- we can only be fully competent with others when we do this.
OK, but they understand me, right?
You know the phrase, "You know what happens when you assume things?" This definitely applies in the workplace. Never assume that by sending a simple email that your message will be conveyed. Same goes for a meeting- ask for feedback to really get at the heart of whether your message was heard. We have to consider that people have multiple intelligence's. While some may excel at visual learning, some people need auditory supplements. Get to know your people, it will help with this process.
Sometimes I like to delay my feedback to give myself/the recipient time to think.
A police officer understands the concept of this. When you get caught speeding, you receive a speeding ticket. You should employ the same tactic at your workplace. If you see behavior that you don't like, why give people the impression that they can get away with it? Everyone has the dreaded email, "Let's meet in my office" and knows how they react. They immediately shut down and are not open to feedback. If you confront someone right away, they don't have time to put up walls and come up with a defense. It should be noted that the same should go for positive behavior. IMMEDIATELY praise good behavior, publicly, and watch results skyrocket.
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