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Giving & receiving feedback

Growing up, I didn't know how to give or receive feedback. I was insecure, so any feedback others gave me sparked a defensive response. And I was insensitive, so I didn't understand how to deliver constructive criticism with tact. Happily, as I grew older, I was able to grow in this. Mar…
By Seth Barnes

Growing up, I didn't know how to give or receive feedback. I was insecure, so any feedback others gave me sparked a defensive response. And I was insensitive, so I didn't understand how to deliver constructive criticism with tact.

Happily, as I grew older, I was able to grow in this. Marriage will do this to you. Living with others in close proximity will do this.

And I've benefited from the feedback of others so much. My own perception is limited – I need the perspective of others. I remember one of my first bosses giving me the feedback that I was impetuous. I didn't like it, but I thought long and hard about why he'd think that about me.

Jesus regularly gave feedback. It was one of his favorite discipling tools, "Oh you of little faith," he'd say when a disciple fell short. Difficult to hear, but the rebuke would help establish the standard Jesus expected.

This morning, Karen and I are conducting a debrief with 60 racers. I have a series of one-on-one appointments. Each lasts half an hour. We won't see them for another two months after this, so the time will be precious. If I have any insight that might help them, I can't sugar coat it too much.

Why we do it
•    We believe the perspective others bring is a gift and so we don’t shy away from it- we push into it.
•    We expect greatness from others. We want to see them become more and more who God has made them to be. Feedback gives the recipient the benefit of others’ perception – we need it if we’re to change. We ask: “What are the gifts of the person and how can we encourage them to walk in them more fully?”

Four principles
•    Timely. On the field, we do feedback everyday.  We have a 24 hour rule. Get it said today!
•    Plan. Think about what you're going to say in advance. How will you deliver it? Ask God for his words.
•    Positive. Feedback may be hard. We're usually asking that others change their behavior. So if we can deliver the feedback in a positive, encouraging way, it helps.
•    Everyone. At Adventures, we welcome feedback from anyone with insight. Individuals give feedback to leaders, leaders give feedback to everyone.
•    High courage/high consideration. We don’t hold back, but we’re considerate.

How are you at giving and receiving feedback? When was the last time you really worked on the quality of the feedback you gave?

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