“How do you like the dinner today?”, “I tried a new recipe, how is it?” – Did you ever encounter these questions while you were busy finishing your lunch or supper? That must be your mom or wife.
Have you ever wondered why they ask that? May be the question forced you to answer, but why didn’t we say it on our own?
Let’s go back to our school or university days. The structure of schooling is such that we are given grades to rate against our performance. So we are learning, taking a test or an exam to see where we stand and know how we can improve ourselves. Essentially this is a feedback for us to find ways to do better in the next round of exams. Similar would have been any competitions we would have participated in. We get to rate ourselves based on the feedback we receive from the judges or the points we would have scored.
Whether we realize it or not, we are very much used to automatically getting feedback. This feedback has helped us become who we are, considering it has come from people who are far more experienced than us and are willing to give us feedback.
When I was asked to give a feedback about myself, appraisal discussions as we call them in corporate sector, I found it difficult. When I was asked to give feedback on the team I lead, it was far more difficult. That’s because I have never really tried or have an experience of giving feedback either for myself or someone else.
Basically it’s doing two things
- Asking for feedback
- Start giving feedback
When there is no defined mechanism to give feedback we find it convenient to not give one. This is what happens in the vicinity of our home, we just don’t try. And one fine day when we realize something isn’t working the way we want it to, we feel a need to say it and since it is going to be negative in regards to the other person, they would find it unpleasant. It’s natural.
“You are looking handsome today”, “You did quite well in your exams”, “You should have considered using different colors for this painting” – all these are forms of feedback.
When we are willing to listen to negative feedback and work on it, others would find it convenient to listen to ours because they know we care.
Cultivate the habit of asking and giving feedback. When we do this as elders, kids would automatically learn the importance of giving feedback and proactively asking for one. They would learn that it’s important for our growth as individuals. Constant feedback would also ease out our communications and make them more effective.