How to Improve Yourself Professionally and Personally through Feedback

“Everybody needs feedback, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a trainer.” Doug Lowenstein Upon brainstorming ideas on how to improve yourself both professionally and personally, I came across a common thread in all the training that I have done with various companies.  The one commonality is that each company required feedback.  One might ask, what is feedback? According to CBS Business Network, feedback is defined as “the communication of responses and reactions to proposals and changes, or of the findings of performance appraisals, with the goal of enabling improvements to be made. Feedback can be either positive or negative.”  Feedback should be encouraged within every organization on all levels even between managers and employees flowing not only downward but upward as well.  Everyone has things that they can improve upon, so why not get the specifics on how to do so from the ones that see you in action everyday, your coworkers.  

An  example of positive feedback, “John, I noticed how you were speaking to that customer, do you have a second to talk about it?”  Then, if John gives his permission that is the time to give your feedback. “John, I thought it was really great how you called the carrier for the customer to find out where their freight was and followed up with them until their freight made it to the end destination.  You did a really good job of reassuring the customer that the shipment would be on time.”  On the other end of the spectrum, some negative feedback would be, “Julie, I noticed when you were speaking to that prospect you weren’t really clear about the solutions we offer, do you have a second to discuss it?”  Once permission has been given, “Julie, when you were speaking to that prospect you weren’t really clear on how our transportation management system could benefit the customer.  Next time you should explain how it can integrate with their system, has the ability to create customized reporting, and automatically generates Bills of Lading.”

With the positive feedback, this encourages the employee/coworker to continue their excellent customer service, where as the negative feedback explains ways that the sales rep can make improvements.  Each form of feedback was both clear, concise, and detailed so that the receiver of the feedback knew exactly what the giver was referring to at the time.  You should also give feedback as soon as possible after the action you want to mention occurred and encourage the receiver to give you feedback as well.  This enables employees to make improvements both personally and professionally by engaging in open communication.  Do you encourage your employees to give each other feedback?  If so, how has this helped your organization to grow and develop your workforce?