At the moment, there is a lot of public criticism of perceived government planning and possible response to the threat of FMD.
It is easy for us to be vocal in our disapproval of an institution, but what happens when you want to give feedback to a staff or family member.
There are only two reasons to give feedback. One is when someone is off track, and you want them to get back on track.
Imagine you are in Brisbane and you want to drive to Sydney. Two hours into the trip you pass a sign saying, "Welcome to Gympie".
Would you want to know you were driving in the wrong direction then, or would you want to know when you arrived in Cairns?
Isn't this a great way to think about feedback? In the long run, timely feedback will save you money, fuel (energy) and time.
It is much better to give feedback as soon as you notice you need to change someone's direction, rather than wait until that behaviour is ingrained.
The other reason for feedback is when someone is doing an amazing job.
Imagine one of your staff doing something extraordinary but never repeating it because you did not say thank you and they felt under appreciated or were unsure if they took the right course of action.
Giving positive feedback is easy, although sometimes we forget to do it. No one I know actually likes to give negative feedback.
We put it off, waiting for the "right moment" which never comes because we are never comfortable going into a conversation which is perceived to be negative and unhelpful.
We possibly do not want to offend the other person, or we might be scared of their response.
At the beginning of each year, we ask our staff to view any feedback they receive as a gift; and to say "thank you" when they receive it.
Replying with excuses or reasons for the behaviour is a defensive reaction.
Saying "thank you" allows you to take some time to reflect on why the feedback was given and space for you to consider a response, rather than a reaction.
When giving feedback, honesty is the best policy. Start the conversation by saying, "I don't want to have this conversation, but I'm going to have it anyway".
It will save someone a trip to Cairns when they need to be in Sydney.
- Anna Cochrane, station manager
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.