Here’s some feedback on feedback

I’m big on giving and receiving feedback. But only the ones that are genuine and actually helps the other person get better. Now, I know what you’re thinking — “Sunil, there’s something to gain from all or any feedback that’s shared with you.” With great love and respect, I disagree.

The challenge with most “constructive” feedback is that it just isn’t up to the mark. Yup, I’m talking about the “quality” of the content (read: feedback) that’s delivered. Because most of it is an obligation for being present in the room or perhaps to assert who’s the boss or worse, knows it all. And that dilutes the purpose of solid feedback that’s suppose to get you unstuck and grow you further as a person and as a professional.

It peeves me to the core when someone shares feedback just for the heck of it. The worst kind is the ones that are damn obvious but the giver didn’t have the common sense to realize it. Sure, sometimes we miss out on the obvious. And I would argue we all know it when we do. Oftentimes, we admit it too.

I believe it’s thoroughly unprofessional and condescending to share (give or receive) feedback that doesn’t grow you or the other person. And if it doesn’t, ignore it and move on with your life. There’s only so much time and attention you have for others and you’re better off being selective about what and whom to listen and consider.

That said, what I would deeply appreciate is your analysis. Seth Godin in one of his posts said:

What I want instead of your opinion is your analysis. It does me no
good to hear you say, “I’d never pick that box up.” You can add a great
deal of value, though, if you say, “The last three products that
succeeded were priced under $30. Is there a reason you want to price
this at $31?” Or, “We analyzed this market last year, and we don’t
believe there’s enough room for us to compete. Take a look at this
spreadsheet.” Or even, “That font seems hard to read. Is there a way to
do a quick test to see if a different font works better for our

Analysis is a lot harder than opinion because everyone is entitled
to his or her own taste (regardless of how skewed it might be). A
faulty analysis, however, is easy to dismantle. But even though it’s
scary to contribute your analysis to a colleague’s proposal, it’s still
absolutely necessary.

Seth Godin, How to Give Feedback

Now, that’s feedback I can use.

%d bloggers like this: