Whether it’s related to performance or behavior, feedback is an important element of an individual’s professional and personal development. But it’s not always easy to give – or to receive.

Training Facilitator Bernadette Johnson

With this in mind, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with Bernadette Johnson to offer a workshop about how to give and receive effective feedback. In advance of the May 22 event, Inside Business spoke with Johnson about some of the common feedback mistakes and how to improve our communication with each other.

What should we consider when giving feedback?

There is an exercise that I do with clients, where I ask them to answer four questions:

  1. What do you really, really, really want for yourself?
  2. What do you really, really, really want for the other person?
  3. What do you really, really, really want for your relationship with that person?
  4. If you want those things, how should you show up?

This changes the thinking from “She needs to know this…” to “I want her to be her best self…” That softens the situation and creates a safe environment. And that’s important because how you show up will more than likely determine how the other person will receive the feedback.

What is a common mistake that people make when sharing feedback?

They don’t ask for permission. They start off with, “I think you should know…,” instead of “There’s something that I’ve experienced that I want to share with you. Is that okay?”

What mistakes do people make when receiving feedback?

They take it personally and get defensive. It’s better to be curious. If we ask questions, it creates a dialogue and helps us see things that we might not see on our own.

What if someone receives feedback that’s tough to hear or delivered poorly?

Sometimes, people deliver feedback as though they’re scolding someone versus sharing information. Thank them for sharing and explain that you need some time to think about what they’ve said. It’s okay to say that you need some time before you regroup with them in a couple of days.

Interested in learning more about building workplace communication skills? Save your seat for the May 22 workshop here.

To learn more about the leadership development workshops offered this year, click here.