How to Receive Feedback Graciously and Act on It Visibly

The week after my last article, “What is Your Best Advice for Me?” was published, my 11-year-old son and I did a short overnight backpacking trip. He was excited about sleeping in his hammock and using his new backpack. On the way up, a moose crossed the trail about 15 feet in front of us (I was glad it crossed and kept going). About that time, we turned on our headlamps to continue the last quarter mile of the hike. Aside from the moose, nothing major occurred, except for a conversation I had with my son the next morning. This […]

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What Is Your Best Advice for Me?

When we work with clients on their own custom professional development survey, they often ask for our advice on survey items. In seeking our input, the easiest point for us to address is about potential open-ended questions. In most cases, an excellent choice is to ask something like, “What is your best advice for me to succeed in my role?” The Value of Asking for “Advice” What we have found from using the word “advice” rather than something more like “What would help me succeed in my role?” is that it is easier for the person to respond honestly. After […]

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Road Cyclist

What Is Your Feedback Frequency?

Shortly after moving to Arizona I noticed more people riding road bicycles than I had ever seen in Utah or Idaho. Talking with my retired uncle I found out he rode his bike several miles a day, multiple times a week. It got me thinking that cycling is something that I could do. On a whim I went to the local bike shop and purchased a used bike for $200. That was the amount I was comfortable losing if I didn’t end up riding the bike. It turned out that cycling is something that I enjoy! Reaching The Next Level […]

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A Doctor and a Woman

Finding a Healthy Balance with Feedback

Sometimes we’ll pick and choose what feedback we want to listen to, and the rest of it goes out the other ear. Why bother with advice that doesn’t align with how we view ourselves? No one likes to be reminded of their weakness or blind spot even though the blind spot could be the very thing that threatens their personal or professional ambitions. With any potential change, we hope it doesn’t require too much of our time and effort. Most will put it off as long as possible. That’s what I did, and I learned the hard way. On New […]

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Two Businessmen Talking

Do You Know What Is Expected of You?

“Do you feel like you know what is expected of you?” That is one of my favorite questions to ask employees because it can lead to a lot of clarity. First, I should acknowledge that I encountered this question while reading, How to be a Great Boss, by Gino Wickman. While I appreciated the whole book, this one question alone made the time investment worthwhile. It also introduced me to another one of his books, Traction, which I also recommend (but that is another story). Benefits of Asking When you ask an employee, “Do you feel like you know what […]

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Tips for Survey Items

10 Tips for Creating Survey Items

We get to work with a lot of great people who want to provide a way for their clients or employees to receive feedback. During this process, we often help develop, revise, or refine survey items. We’d like to share 10 tips about common issues we have seen with creating survey items over the years. You can also download a checklist version. Anonymity If you’re going to ask the participants to provide demographic information, be sure to avoid demographic questions that are too specific and could reveal their identity. Wording Avoid acronyms, jargon, and abbreviations—including corporate-specific or HR-specific terms. If […]

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Friendly Coworkers

When Feedback Causes Distress

“Useless! What else can you not do?” My former supervisor said to me one day on the job in front of a customer. They had asked me to complete a task I wasn’t familiar with, and I needed some help. The outburst was not the reaction I was expecting or needed. I was taken aback and left the room in tears. After the customer reported the incident, this person apologized profusely and explained that they were having a bad day. Unfortunately, it happened again soon after. This time they said it was my fault and made it clear that I […]

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Car Crash

Brace for Impact! Two Tips to Manage Feedback

My wife and I had just finished getting some groceries when we were in our car stopped at a light waiting to exit the parking lot. It was winter in Idaho, and it was snowing. I was watching the traffic and noticed a car that was coming towards us with the blinker on. As it approached, I saw the wheels were turned, but the car was not turning and was still coming towards us. “Oh snap!” was all I said while bracing for impact. The car hit us. I get that same “brace for impact” feeling when I am going […]

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Junior and Senior Employees

Timing Feedback for Junior Employees

Early in my career, I had four consecutive bosses comment, “I need another Michael.” I took that as a real compliment and very much appreciated it; however, my one complaint—especially with the first boss to say it—was regarding the timing. In that particular case, I was a research assistant to a professor in my second year of grad school. The year was almost over, and I was about to graduate with my master’s degree in information science. The professor made this comment to the department secretary who would be helping him find a new research assistant for the next year. […]

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Troy Blaser

Dealing with Feedback Anxiety and Switching Things Up

Feedback Anxiety Have you ever learned something at work that turned out to be helpful in your personal life too? My wife, Sally, is taking a course toward a professional certification. Once a month the class has an observation session where they each receive feedback from their instructor and their fellow students. These sessions caused a good deal of anxiety for Sally (as I think they would for most people) and I wanted to help her with that anxiety. Fortunately for me, LearningBridge has recently started a podcast called Simply Feedback, and I suggested that she listen to a few […]

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