Disclaimer: this is no feedback guide but a personal view on how feedback can change one’s life. Basically – a subjective feedback on feedbacks.
Last week it was my 1-year anniversary here at mindit.io. As I’m always one for celebrations and anniversaries, I honored it with a walk on the memory lane by looking at who I was back when I joined mindit.io team and who I am now, one year later.
Like each and every one of us, I used to (and still do sometimes) communicate and share my feelings and opinions on different topics only in a formal, organized context. I needed rules, guidelines, already formulated questions, metrics, data.
I used to find feedback a nuisance; it was incredibly hard for me to come up with empowering thoughts, gratitude and admiration but I could’ve written books about my dissatisfactions with others – and with me.
If there’s something that mindit.io taught me this year is that:
1. I was looking at feedback only from a “must do it, but I don’t really know why” perspective.
2. Feedback is an opportunity, not an obligation. You offer it out of respect and not determined by a requirement. Feedback must come from our honest and sincere intention to help and contribute to one’s path.
3. We can offer and request feedback out of nowhere, we don’t need to wait for a formal context to be organized by someone else.
4. It must come from the heart, not out of spite just because “I cannot deal with that attitude anymore.”. That is not feedback, but a discharge of emotions.
5. There is no positive/negative feedback. There is just feedback.
6. The right time for feedback is now. Not one year later, and clearly not never.
Feedback is a gift. We live, exist and grow surrounded by people - different people, with different upbringings and perspectives. It’s not just me who’s crafting my own path, but every person helping me with feedback – being it words full of gratitude and empowerment, acts of support or just some advice.
One year later and I’m a completely different person. Although, different is not the right word here. In reality I’m more me than I ever was due to a community, an organization based on feedback, due to multiple diverse humans offering me landmarks fit to my own unique path.
It was not an easy journey – shifting from a necessity to a voluntary, excitement-bringing action. It came way too natural for me to only look at feedback from a negative, angry perspective. Maybe my behavior and mindset were determined by my upbringing; maybe it’s a cultural, social influence. The thing about mindset, behavior and social impact, though, is that in reality they are flexible and adaptable. It’s something we educate and determine.
When we give honest, well intentioned feedback we grow with every person we are helping to grow. It’s not about me or about them, it’s about us. And it’s us building and growing a team, an organization, a community and the society.
As a matter of fact, I’m still working on it. I would love to tell you how easy it is for me every time, but it would be a lie. However, with every opportunity to offer feedback I remind myself why I am doing it and then it just makes sense.
Wouldn’t it be marvelous to have a perfect recipe for giving relevant feedback? If you made it till this point the answer will come naturally – it’s about how we look at feedback and not only about how we’re giving it. It’s about the why and only afterwards about the how. It’s about helping and contributing and not about finger pointing.
And for the how– just be kind and sympathetic.