THE PROBLEM WITH HARSH FEEDBACK
How many times have you heard the following? : ‘Feedback is a gift.’
While it is true that feedback can most certainly be a gift, there are times when it is not. — These are usually the times when feedback is given harshly or thoughtlessly and when that happens, the very purpose of giving it is defeated. Author and marketing guru, Seth Godin, explains why this happens. He says:
“(Harsh feedback) often comes from one of two kinds of people: People who give themselves feedback in the same heartless tone. They don’t hesitate to brutally lash out, because that’s the noise they often hear inside. And folks who honestly believe that their work is flawless. They can’t understand how anyone else can fail to measure up, because they never seem to.”
In order to give good and effective feedback, it is important to try and avoid being either of these two kinds of people. It also helps to remember the apocryphal story of the young lad who had a temper and would often fly into a rage.
After trying to convince him many times to control his anger, the boy’s father finally said to him, “Every time you lose your temper, go and hammer a nail into the wooden gatepost at the entrance of the garden. And every day that you manage to not lose your temper, pull one nail out.”
Ingrained habits can be hard to break and the number of nails in the gatepost kept increasing. Finally, embarrassed by the sight of the hammered-in nails, the boy decided he needed to start controlling his temper. It took many months, but the day finally came when the last of the nails came out.
Rejoicing, the boy went to his father and said, ‘Look, all the nails are out.” The father rejoiced with him and commended him and then looked closely at the gatepost. After a long silence, the father said, “The nails are out, but never forget, the scars remain.”
Let’s make sure the feedback we give others actually helps them instead of scarring them.
Have a great week!