In his book, The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard shares that “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Many of us in HR are familiar with that quote or have studied the concept of feedback before. We recognize that feedback is valuable and often encourage our team members, leaders, and managers to provide more consistent feedback. Feedback, however, can feel like a double-edged sword.
Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone explain in their book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well that feedback is rooted in two fundamental human needs – our need to get better and our need to feel accepted, respected, and loved. When I think about feedback as a concept, it makes perfect sense. I grasp the knowledge and I am confident I have improved over the years in my ability to apply the best practices of providing feedback to others. Where I struggle (and I suspect I am not alone) is in receiving feedback.
In thinking about the types of feedback, the positive, appreciative feedback feels good. The feedback that feels more critical or uncomfortable is the coaching or evaluation kind. This is especially true for me when I have worked hard on a task or project only to learn that I did not meet the expectations of others. Even though I asked for their thoughts, it hurts to know my time and efforts did not hit the mark.
Learning that what I thought I did well, from someone else’s point of view, was considered “less than” and quickly stirs a myriad of emotions. I can experience self-doubt, frustration, anger, hurt, shame, disappointment, annoyance, and sadness (to name a few). It can take me several days to process what I have heard and learn from the experience. While I often have found that at a future point, the feedback has resulted in my growth or improvement, the process continues to be challenging.
I share all of this as some of the comments we received on the Spring Conference survey were more of the coaching or evaluation kind. I know how hard and tirelessly our volunteers worked to assemble a day they felt would be meaningful and valuable for attendees. I know how much effort our presenters put into their talks to try to meet the varying needs of the audience. I also know when you run events, things happen that are out of your control or are unexpected.
Through my personal development journey, I have learned that regardless of the type of feedback, who delivers it, or the forum in which it is shared, there is always a takeaway which will help me grow. That knowledge has evolved into an appreciation as I have recognized that feedback comes from a place of caring. So, in that vein I want to say thank you to everyone who cares about the success of LSHRM. By sharing your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions we will be able to continue to amplify what we do well and enhance our opportunities for growth and continuously enrich our programs and offerings.
Thank you to our volunteers and presenters for your commitment to our members and dedication to adding value to others. I believe in the people who comprise our organization and with your feedback I am confident we will continuously evolve and grow to meet the needs of HR professionals in Lancaster County.
With sincere gratitude;
LSHRM President 2023