4 Principles to Get and Give Better Feedback

get feedback

If we want to become better leaders we need to have good feedback. And to get that feedback, we need to find and listen to better critics.

But getting helpful feedback has one significant challenge. There is an inverse correlation between the frequency of a person’s opinion and the value of that opinion.

The more a person wants to tell you what they think, the less valuable their feedback is likely to be.

If we want to become better leaders we need to have good feedback. And to get that feedback, we need to find and listen to better critics.

But getting helpful feedback has one significant challenge. There is an inverse correlation between the frequency of a person’s opinion and the value of that opinion.

The more a person wants to tell you what they think, the less valuable their feedback is likely to be.

It’s essential to know something about the critic in order for the criticism to be of value.

This is one of the downsides of the new online frontier, and especially of social media. People comment and criticize because they can, even if they have nothing of value to offer.

How to Be a Better Critic

Whenever I’m considering offering my opinion to someone else, I use those four principles, but I consider them in reverse order.

First I ask myself “am I qualified to speak to this person on this subject?” If not, I let it go.

Next, I ask “has this person asked for my advice, either explicitly or implicitly?” If I think they’ve implied their desire for my advice, I confirm it and get explicit permission (“Yes, I really would like to hear what you think about this”) before speaking up.

Then, I only speak constructively. I want to help elevate their situation. I don’t need to have a solution before pointing out a possible problem, but I need to be willing to work with them on possible paths to a solution.

Finally, I’m willing to work with them on the specifics if they’re open to it. Offering advice, only to walk away saying “good luck with that” is not helpful.

If I don’t have the time to help, I don’t have the time to criticize.

When all four of these principles come together, criticism can transform from something we dread to something we learn from, grow from and want more of.

This article originally appeared here.

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors

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