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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. M…
By Seth Barnes
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?

Comments (6)

  • Because I live, in a sense, ‘with one foot in the world and one in the kingdom’ these kind of posts tend to have value in both. The principals you’ve outlined are the mark of a good leader in non kingdom endevors too. Yet if I think of it too much that way, and work on how I am with others in my work or as a Scout leader, I may forget to apply it to how I approach mentoring in regaurd to leading for Christ. And worse, might not hear the corrections and exhortations I need to hear. Then again, is any endevor completly non-Kingdom? (Relationship oppurtunities, all).

  • not well versed ‘because I tend to stay distanced from most people,of course that doesnt stop the LORD from helping me along the path!!!

  • as soon as we get close to some people they gain yr trust and wait to distroy u so it’s better to be alone and meet people on occasions or stay put with yr family no trouble.

  • Good reminder for this season! I am usually a giver of gifts, but unsure about giving comments so as I don’t hurt someones feelings.perhaps I’m afraid of responses or that I may not be received as helpful, but unkind. I seem to be more critical of myself than others. The problem as I see it depends on my relationship with that person. It is more about encouragment than mentoring.

  • As I’m in month six now of my race I am still learning to give and receive feedback. It definetely builds you up into the person God is calling you to be.

  • Yes I give feedback but I have seldom received any. There was a wedding on 23rd of November,this year, and I mailed the bride’s parents on how well the wedding was organized. But I never give any negative feedback although I know that is the most important one because one will learn from negative only. But the world is such that they forget the good ones said about them and zoom on the negative lines and break the relationship. Well one could argue that if that be so then where is the point in continuing the relationship. Things are not that simple in relationships and one has to tread carefully. I would love to get negative feedback so that I can improve but sadly no one has bothered to comment whether it is a song I sang or a dish that I cooked or an idea I floated. I have learnt to take it all in my stride.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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