If you are uncomfortable giving and receiving feedback, you will not reach your full potential. I am convinced that the most important skill to continuous self-improvement and to helping those around you is the ability to give and receive feedback effectively. At a lecture by Boris Groysberg of the Harvard Business School (please see link to his book below), he made a point that giving and receiving developmental feedback is the single biggest skill needed to improve organizations, grow superstars, and develop a culture of development and improvement. Boris says that “developmental cultures” are much better at producing and retaining superstars, and the key to developmental cultures is providing developmental feedback. Some tips for giving good feedback include describing skills/situations well, being specific, citing examples, and be oriented to helping them improve or problem-solve around the issues.
At my massage school, the National Holistic Institute, we have posters around our campuses that remind the staff and students to “Tell the Truth with Compassion”. The idea is that we are all learning from each other and we need to be comfortable and good at giving and receiving feedback. Usually, we do this well. Occasionally, we need to get things back on track. Now, we have an interesting situation where a couple of our campuses have developed cultures where the teachers are not comfortable giving peer feedback. At most of our campuses, this is one of the most important initiatives to helping all our teachers continuously grow and improve. We have a peer review process where teachers observe other teachers to provide helpful feedback (and maybe learn a few things in observing as well). We are making a determined effort to make all teachers comfortable giving and receiving feedback, specifically at this campus.
Here is the book by Boris Groysberg: