Now that most 2017 performance reviews have been completed, with feedback and 'stop, start, continue' ringing in many an ear, it is a good time to step back and ask 'is all feedback valid?'
We are told need to accept feedback, take action on what we are told and those who challenge it are branded 'defensive'. We are rarely encouraged to assess the validity of feedback.
Luckily, high school history taught me an excellent way to assess feedback objectively (thanks, Mr Bryden!). Let's view feedback as a source, now we have to assess the validity, accuracy and motivators behind the content.
What is the person's role in relation to you?
Do they work with you directly?
Are they above or below you in the organisation / team? Be careful to avoid placing too much or too little value on feedback based on a person's role.
Has the feedback come directly from the person or through a third party?
Why has the feedback been provided?
Is it part of an end of year review / direct feedback on work completed for them / real time?
Where was the feedback given?
In person / on an HR system / in front of a group / in a private meeting?
What does it say?
Can you identify any elements of bias? Bias in a positive or negative way. A glowing report from a work friend, while helpful to support a good rating, is an example of potential bias.
Is it factual? Is it at a professional or personal level?
Is it relevant to your role responsibilities?
Have any actions been suggested?
How was feedback provided?
Was it well structured and thought out or rushed through?
I used this process frequently during my time working for a large organisation where feedback was often used as part of the performance review cycle.
This is not a way of getting out of negative feedback. This method should allow you to view feedback more subjectively, which in turn will make it easier to deal with and act upon where necessary.
When providing feedback to others, I would recommend asking yourself the same questions to ensure what you are saying is relevant, appropriate and being said for the right reasons,
There are several types of feedback which should be avoided as they usually have a negative impact on the recipient. Look out for next week's article where we delve in to the murky waters of negative feedback in more detail.