Today I am reading the intro, chapter 1 and about the authors page from FEEDBACK (and Other Dirty Words), Why We Fear It, How to Fix It, by M. Tamra Chandler with Laura Dowling Grealish.
Feedback is probably one of the most difficult and fully misunderstood types of communication we humans fail at daily. Whether we are the giver or the receiver, we somehow use and abuse terrible and outdated tactics that humiliated and hurt us at one time or another.
Why do we do that? Because, every instance we witness or suffer through acts as a learning tool. We pocket it, tuck it away and it just comes out wrong when it’s our turn to use it.
When I think of feedback, I always think first of business. At work we know if formally as the traditional annual review. That dinosaur that should have left the building long ago still haunts organizations large and small. The fix? Chandler and Grealish (2019) tell us “It’s time to reimagine feedback as a fluid and ongoing conversation, free of ratings, angst, and judgment. As we move forward, it will also be crucial to recognize the fact that we’re all getting more feedback than we realize, but that it may not register as feedback when it comes without the sting.”Chandler and Grealish, 2019, p. 12
Of course this book does not focus solely on performance management (or annual reviews specifically) this is where my mind went when I picked it up. The book is a guide to help us move towards a new version of feedback, in a movement the authors say will be led by “Seekers, supported by thoughtful Extenders, and encouraged by open Receivers. It will flow across teams and people in a manner that is easy, genuine, and informal” (p. 174). And this will take time and individual practice as all positive good change requires.
I definitely recommend this book and would hope that anyone from the front lines, straight up to the CEO read, digest, practice and share it.
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Chandler, M. T. & Grealish, L.D. (2019). Feedback (and Other Dirty Words). Berrett-Koehler.