May 6, 2020

Inviting and Receiving Feedback

This post is based on content from remotify.work’s self-paced course for remote teams and team-leaders. The course is delivered in bite-sized chunks by Intao’s digital mentor.

Click here to find out more.

Genuinely inviting feedback, and then receiving it graciously when it comes, is essential to your distributed team-work

Receiving feedback asks a lot of us

No matter how hard we try to understand each other, the fact is we each live in our own bubble of reality. What's important for you is different to what's important for me. How I perceive a concept like 'team-work' or 'quality' is likely to be different than how you see it. Even when we do agree on an idea, we might use different words that make it hard to see we're aligned.

Occasionally, the meaning I make of your feedback might lead me to think that you don't value my work, my ideas or even me as a person. I might take offence and react badly, becoming unable to make use of the feedback you offered.

Feedback that challenges an idea I'm attached to, or feedback that implies my effort has gone to waste can be hard to receive too. Distracted by what it will mean to lose what I had, I become unable to listen and accept that the feedback could be true.

Maybe your experience has sometimes been similar?

Problems grow - don't delay feedback

We all face these challenges, and, often unconsciously, put up barriers to feedback. What we don't know can't hurt us, right?

Wrong!

Resolving differences and difficulties early on is the most efficient way to achieve your team's joint goals. It takes courage to open up to feedback, but is worth the effort.

Invite feedback early and often

A good rule-of-thumb is to invite feedback early and often. When you plan your work, also plan:

  • At what stages you will gather feedback so that it comes in good time
  • How you will collect feedback from all contributors

By establishing the plan for feedback early, you can commit to and be prepared to receive and use it. When everyone in the team knows where they stand, risk and uncertainty reduces, and feedback flows more freely.

You can get started right away by using the '30/60/90 Framework For Feedback'.

Receive feedback with an open mind

When difficult-to-hear feedback comes, be ready to co-create an alternate reality with your team-mates. Place this alternate reality where you can all explore it. In the shared, alternate reality, accept the truth of the feedback. Explore it with genuine curiosity to find what's remarkable and useful about it.

What else would need to be true for this feedback to make sense? What is the way forward, together, in this reality?

Go play!

Relax! Feedback is not about you, even when it's been difficult to receive. It is the door to a playground of infinite possibility for you and your team-mates to explore.

When's your next opportunity to play?

This post is based on content from remotify.work’s self-paced course for remote teams and team-leaders. The course is delivered in bite-sized chunks by Intao’s digital mentor.

Click here to find out more.

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