What Information Do You Need in Order to Change? - Farnam Street - Deepstash

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Feedback and efficient behavior

Feedback and efficient behavior

Feedback is a valuable source of information that you can use to effect the changes you want. You need information that tells you what you’re doing well and where you’re going wrong.

Then you can use that information to plan tactics for bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback

Asking how you could be a better partner, team member, friend, or leader from the people best placed to give you accurate feedback is a requirement for improving. Getting useful information in an ongoing, iterative loop gives you the opportunity to discuss solutions and make changes.

Of course, not all feedback is good. Sometimes it’s just noise. Knowing when to ignore feedback that isn’t useful or is badly intentioned can be just as useful as knowing when to seek out the kind of feedback that is instructive. 

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Feedback and opinions are not the same thing

  • Feedback is based on observation and reactions to your specific actions. It does not aim to tell you what you should be doing; it simply seeks to enlarge your perspective on what you are doing.
  • Opinions are just someone sharing how they feel about a particular aspect of the world – they have nothing to do with you in particular.

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The power of feedback

When giving others feedback, ask yourself what information they might need to make meaningful change. 

Giving good feedback requires an awareness of both what you’re saying, and how you say it.

  • Make it personal, provide specific examples, and notice how things have changed over time.
  • Reassure the person that you are trying to help them be a better version of themselves, that you are in their corner.
  • Be aware of your tone. You’re a team member, not an accuser.
  • Choose your timing wisely. At the end of a busy work day is probably not the time to give constructive feedback.

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