When you’re feeling paralyzed, remember…

“Nothing happens until something moves”

– Albert Einstein

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Does delivering and receiving feedback make you uncomfortable?

If feedback makes you uncomfortable both giving and getting, you’re not alone. I dread every performance appraisal even when I am confident it will be positive. It’s just so personal. Then I found an article on ProjectsAtWork.com that offered a refreshing perspective in the form of 9 great tips. If you are studying business management, this may help:

business coaching
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
  1. Approach the conversation with curiosity about the other person’s point of view.
  2. Set the stage as partners in the conversation by gaining consensus on the purpose and mode of communication.
  3. Avoid the long-standing assumption that negative feedback is easier to swallow when sandwiched (positive/negative/positive). Ask the recipient how they would like to receive it.
  4. State your concern and ask for their point of view – don’t make people guess.
  5. Ask how you may have contributed to the issues.
  6. React to defensiveness with curiosity about how they’re feeling.
  7. Do not use anonymous feedback – the reaction is sure to be defensiveness.
  8. Honor a statute of limitations – waiting too long erodes the value.
  9. Solicit feedback on your ability to give feedback.

Number 7 is my personal favorite. In my opinion, being told that someone said something, but their identity cannot be revealed, is frustrating and of no value.

These pointers are useful for situations outside the workplace too. What works for you?

Advice from the top

“The Job Description is Just the Start”, published in The New York Times, is an interview with Susan Story, the CEO of a utility company who generously offered advice on positioning for success. The executive offered many great insights to job seekers and new hires that lend itself to a post in this mentoring blog.

In response to a request for three decisive interview questions, Ms. Storry provided the following, and thinking about your responses would be a great exercise. Some variation of these questions may be asked since they probe motivation, initiative, collaboration and leadership skills.

“Tell me why you want to work here.”

“What two or three things do you think you can accomplish in the first year?”

“If you were in charge of a project with about 15 people none of whom report to you, how would you go about doing that?”

Ms. Story’s advice to college graduates: “Focus on doing the best job you can where you are…go in thinking this could be my last job, and I’m going to be the best I can at it.” In addition, she suggests exploring ways to add value to the organization that go beyond what is written in the job description. I agree – this is the way to learn, grow and demonstrate a vested interest in the company.