How To Use Feedback To Improve Performance

By: Royale Scuderi, Productive Life Concepts. Reposted with permission.

Many people do not want to hear opinions or assessments from others about their work and/or life quality. It is an unfortunate part of human nature that we prefer to avoid all potentially negative information in order to insulate ourselves from criticism. Why do we do that? And why do we assume or fear that the feedback will be negative? Maybe it’s the underlying feeling that we are not good enough that is so pervasive in American Society or the habit of only giving feedback when something is wrong. I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t delve into the reasons here (though I have my theories.) The plain fact is that feedback is an often overlooked, yet extremely valuable component of productivity. If used properly it can be an indispensible tool in your productivity arsenal that can give you a competitive advantage over your peers.Feedback is simply a tool; an instrument if you will for both validation and growth. Be cautious not to attach personal feeling to this information. Keep it in its proper perspective however and only give it the importance it deserves. Feedback is not about you as a person; it is about assessing and improving work or activities that you do.A few weeks ago, just about when I had started questioning if anybody was listening to me or cared what I had to offer, I received a gift from Ezine Articles that made a significant impact on me. Every individual wonders if they really can do the job and we all need a pat on the back once in a while. The beauty of this gesture was twofold for me: first, it provided validation that I do quality work that does indeed have value in the marketplace; second, it was a great example of how can give appropriate feedback to others with whom I work and live.With that in mind, let’s talk about how to use feedback properly:

  • You must ask for it – Many people just do not think to give feedback or only do so when it’s negative. Make it a regular practice to ask your co-workers, supervisor, clients or customers how you are doing. (You may also consider asking your partner or children if you dare.)
  • Listen – It does no good to ask for feedback if you do not really listen with an open mind.
  • Filter – Consider the possible bias or perspective of the other person before you decide how much importance to place on their opinions. Do you respect the person’s views? Are they knowledgeable in the specific area? Do you trust them to be honest with you?  If not, feel free to disregard them.
  • Analyze – If the feedback is positive, how can you use it to continue to improve? Don’t dismiss praise or accolades! If it’s negative, what can you learn from it? Where is there room for improvement? Note: Any feedback that is purely destructive has nothing to offer you and should be ignored. Feedback that is mean-spirited is not useful to anyone.
  • Give positive feedback – Learn to offer positive feedback to others. Be honest, thoughtful and constructive in your opinions. Even if your assessment is negative, find a way to offer it coupled with helpful ideas.  

Don’t be afraid of feedback or opinions of people whom you value. Use it, bask in it and learn from it. Open your ears and open your mind; grow and thrive.

Do you have any feedback for me? I’m all ears….

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RoyaleRoyale is the owner of Productive Life Concepts. She coaches individuals and consults with businesses on productivity, organization, business success, work & life balance and making sense of the true purpose behind it all. Her motto: “True fulfillment is about living a productive and purposeful life and having the good sense to enjoy it while its happening.”


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