Lessons Are Where You Find Them - [website] Email Print
Published: 19th of May 2023 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

As is Feedback. When I was asked to write this blog on the art of giving feedback, I had no idea how to make it easier and lighter and more fun than the ordinary business-related posts. Then I took a second... And in that second, I accidentally made eye contact with my trusted 4-legged office partner and trusty hound.

He perked his ears, wagged his tail and waited expectantly for the words he no doubt knew were coming, "what's up boy?" At that moment he took 3 steps closer and sat right next to me expecting some sort of interaction and that is when it hit me.

Feedback is an opportunity for connection. In business we tend to use it as only a way of learning, but our natural learning processes include all of head, heart and hands, and when we give feedback we could both give and get much more value if we were to approach it as an opportunity for true connection.

It is for this reason that feedback should be embraced and become part of who we are, a culture so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our workplace that it becomes second nature, whether it is upward, downward or lateral feedback will be immaterial.

Now if I could return to my trusty 4-legged office companion, there is one thing he does particularly well... He sets boundaries. He has a distinct warning look and growl that tells us when he does not want to be messed with. It's very simple from his viewpoint. Cross this line and I will tell you no. And a minute later once we have backed off, he is all good again.

This brings me to the second point of feedback. Whilst we can engage kindly and with heart, it also does need to be timeous, straight up and authentic, both given and taken in the manner it was intended. I do believe that we are in these VUCA times all becoming more aware of the need for straight talk. For transparent, yet clear leadership.

And now after I have come this far in the blog, that 4-legged creature has moved to sleep in a sliver of winter sun streaming in through the window, totally content after his early morning walk, 10 minutes of obedience training and morning breakfast. Leaving me with the thought that he is a happy, balanced and stress-free dog.

And yes, you have guessed it... There is a link between being balanced and stress free and good feedback, in fact I see it as a circular correlation. If we are balanced and stress free, we are more attuned to making better connections and when we have better connections, we are more likely to be balanced and stress free and as a result more authentic. Therefore, we can give and receive feedback more openly. Ultimately recognising that feedback is where you find it.

So to my canine mentor for the day - "Thank you for the lesson"
To the readers - "Thank you for reading thus far, all feedback would be greatly appreciated!"

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2023
Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you covering aspects of management, leadership and self-mastery, please email info@stafftraining.co.za

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