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    Why Feedback Is A Career And Life Hack

    By Dr. Srividya
    25 Jul'22  6 min read
    Why Feedback Is A Career And Life Hack
    Synopsis

    From being a student to transitioning into work is a huge change. When you move  from being a school student to one in college, and then manouvere into profession life, the ways your are assessed and your performance reviewed also change. How important is to ask for and receive feedback all through your academic and professional life? How should you ask for, receive, and give feedback? Read to know.

    Read more
    Why Feedback Is A Career And Life Hack
    Synopsis

    From being a student to transitioning into work is a huge change. When you move  from being a school student to one in college, and then manouvere into profession life, the ways your are assessed and your performance reviewed also change. How important is to ask for and receive feedback all through your academic and professional life? How should you ask for, receive, and give feedback? Read to know.

    Read more

    From the very beginning of your academic life, you are used to getting feedback from your teachers, parents, principal, friends, and others. In kindergarten, your teacher may have awarded you a ‘star’ to tell you that you did well! As you grow older, you get grades, certificates, awards, words of appreciation, cash prizes, trophies, etc. By middle school, you get used to a system that does continuous assessments and tests followed by sharing of grades and inputs through parent- teacher meetings. This tells you how you have done, what you need to improve upon, and what else you could focus on, in order to progress. These systems, when implemented well, help you constantly improve. This is the importance of performance feedback.

    Why To Seek Feedback

    When you transition to the world of work, you may find key differences in the levels of accountability and initiative needed to get the job rightly done. Bosses, colleagues, team members, unlike your school or college teachers, will not know what you still need to learn or are not aware about. In most organisations, feedback comes once in a year in the form of annual appraisals. Hence, it might become a challenge for a working professional to understand where they are faltering and what more they need to learn. This makes it essential for you to know the importance of feedback and have the skills to ask for and receive feedback. Let us understand the importance of performance feedback through Ria's example.

    Also Read | Why Having A Value System Is Indispensible

    Ria’s Example

    Read Ria’s experience on how feedback could have helped her.

    Ria is a designer. She is part of a creative communication team where they are helping to brand a start-up organisation. In her first project at work, she was super excited to put all her creative ideas into helping the client build their brand image. She started work on the logo and generated four possible options as committed to the client. In the team meeting, Ria excitedly presented her logo designs. Somehow, the designs did not fly even with her own team. Now, she had only two hours to go to rehash everything. She sat down and got inputs from a senior designer, and together they reworked the logo options in record time. She decided to connect with the senior designer regularly, so she gets her input well in time. This is one of the life hacks that will provide Ria the necessary feedback and help her perform better at work.

    What could Ria have done differently to avoid this stressful situation? Although it is easy to say this in hindsight – she could have shown drafts of the logo to her senior teammates earlier. The seniors could have also asked, but what happens often in the rush of meeting deadlines is that critical points like these get missed. So, it is entirely upto you, or Ria in the case we just discussed, to take the initiative and ask for inputs or feedback. This is the key difference between the world of education and that of work.

    Other than knowing the importance of feedback, you do need skills to ask for and receive feedback, in order to make it work for yourself.

    Also Read | 10 Ways To Think Straight, Without Bias

    Tips To Ask For Feedback

    Let us now look at some best life hacks that would enable you to ask for and receive feedback more effectively and have a better insight about the importance of feedback.

    Know The Right People

    One of the best life hacks is to make a list of the people in your network who you feel have the skills and right intention to give you feedback and inputs. For this, you would need to scan your network, understand the credentials and expertise of the prospective people, and preferably seek feedback on matters specific to their expertise. For example, if Ria had earlier asked her brother who is a banker for design-related inputs, he would have struggled to render useful help

    life hack, best life hacks, simple life hacks, life hacks 2021, life hacks for students, importance of feedback, importance of feedback in the workplace, importance of performance feedbackRight People In Your Network Will Give You The Right Feedback

    Move From Specific To General

    Ask for specific feedback followed by overall feedback. This life hack can be taken up once you have identified the right mentors or people who can guide you, it would help you to ask for feedback on areas specific to their expertise and then move towards more generic themes. Also, see if you can ask them to highlight what is more important for you to work on. Ask for feedback on your specific work as well as overall professionalism. Some suggested questions you may ask are:-

    • “Please help me understand what I did well and where you saw such examples.”
    • “Please help me understand what I can improve, and it would really help if you could share some examples.”
    • “Please share where else you would like me to contribute.”
    • “Please share any other thoughts or inputs you feel are relevant.”

    Do thank them for their time and ask when you could meet again for a follow-up session.

    Be Professional

    Always request for time, note down feedback, and revert to them with how their inputs made a difference. This will help you build your relationship with your mentors and keep them invested in helping you grow.

    Also Read | 11 Important Communication Skills

    Tips For Receiving Feedback

    As much as it is important to know the importance of performance feedback and how to ask for it, so is to know how to receive feedback appropriately. Here are a few tips on the same.

    Be In A Receptive Headspace

    It can be quite daunting to ask for feedback, and does take courage and a commitment to do so. One of the best life hacks is to take a deep breath and be in a receptive headspace before asking for feedback. You may be nervous, which is natural and okay. In fact, it is good to be a bit nervous as asking for feedback always takes you away from your comfort zone.

    Ask For Clarification

    Another one of the life hacks is asking for clarification if you haven’t understood the feedback well. One or two clarificatory questions would be sufficient for you to get adequate detail.

    Know It Is Not Judgement

    Remember the feedback is about a specific aspect of you. It is not a judgement of ‘how good’ a person you are. If you feel that the feedback is incorrect or hurtful, you need to step back and see if it will help you in any way. Everyone speaks from their unique context and there may be a difference in perspective. One of the life hacks to keep in mind is that feedback is meant to help you grow and you need to focus on those aspects only.

    Also Read | How To Improve Interpersonal Skills: 7 Helpful Tips

    Tips To Give Feedback

    You may, at times, find yourself in a position where you are required to give feedback to someone, be it your friend, parent, or teacher. Here are certain life hacks you should keep in mind when someone on is on the receiving end of your feedback.

    • Know that your feedback matters to the other person, so think through what you want to say. Seek clarity from the person who wants your feedback as to what exactly it is that they want you to address. This will help you frame your feedback better.
    • Use the ‘Sandwich Technique’ - give positive feedback first, then mention improvement areas, and follow it up with positive feedback or strokes.

    Remember, feedback is like the fertiliser that helps the plant grow. You need to add it from outside and regularly. By yourself, you may be exceptional and have great potential. To really bloom and go the extra mile, feedback does wonders.

    Dr. Srividya is an Organisational Psychologist, Career, and Personal Growth coach. She works with teens, parents, adults, and returning professionals, to help them align their personal and professional needs, desires, and overcome personal and professional challenges. She can be reached at www.lifevidya.in.

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