Newsletter: Review prep: Decoding Feedback

October Socials 2022 (1)

As we approach a time to give and receive end-of-year reviews, I’m reminded of advice on feedback dynamics that we last shared here in our June 2019 edition. Given a fresh read, it’s just as true as ever. I hope you find it helpful as you prepare to give or receive reviews.

Here it is:

In talking with both seasoned and aspiring leaders, I’m constantly reminded how unique each of us is, particularly in how we experience things. Awareness of that distinctness and the emotional intelligence (defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions) to manage through difference is often what takes a professional from good to great.

One key realization for many I’ve worked with is: feedback is a product of one’s unique experience. Consider these common situations:

  • Have you ever been in a movie theater, and the person next to you cried but you didn’t?
  • Have you ever been offended by something someone said – that the person thought was perfectly innocent?
  • Have you and a coworker ever interpreted a leader’s actions or words quite differently?

Chances are you’ve been in one of those scenarios. These differing perceptions become more pronounced when giving and receiving feedback. Specifically, feedback you get is often less about you than about the other person’s experience of you. Keeping this in mind will help you avoid becoming defensive. You can instead use your newfound knowledge of how specific words or actions make that person feel to tailor your approach thoughtfully in your future interactions with that person.

As we approach a time of performance reviews, your awareness of feedback dynamics is paramount. I’d love to hear about how you use feedback to tailor interactions at work. Contact us here to chat.


Precious Williams Owodunni | CEO & Founder of Mountaintop Consulting

This letter was originally published in Mountaintop Consulting’s monthly newsletter. You can read the full newsletter here.

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