‘Stop Asking for Feedback’, published by HBR and that we featured in our 25 November edition certainly resonated with me and it seems also to many of you. Looking back at the comments we have received throughout 2020, this is the feature that attracted the most interest and comment.

The difference between giving advice and giving feedback, in some ways, is just a case of semantics. The HBR article sets out techniques for asking for advice, which are little different from those we generally discuss when talking about asking for feedback. However, being asked for advice is flattering, whereas being asked to give feedback often feels awkward.

A point to add and emphasise is that we benefit just as much (perhaps more) from hearing what we did well than being told what we need to improve. We often do not know this unless people tell us. Take this example: The chairman of the board said to J, a board member, “you always identify the most important points of a complex matter. My advice to you is to keep making this contribution to our meetings.” J had wondered if the comments she made at meetings were appropriate and if she were commenting on the right things. As a result of this advice / feedback, she honed this technique, which she might otherwise have dropped.

Positivity is especially important at this time. I was struck by this comment from someone just returned to work from furlough: “It’s great being back at work. I keep being thanked and told what a great job I am doing. I hadn’t realised how much I missed this.”

There is a great message for us all here as we finish a dreadful year and get the next one off to a positive start: focus on wellbeing and build relationships with lots of positives.

We are taking a break now and will be back with you at the end of January.

On behalf of us all at Scala, we wish you a healthy, peaceful and enjoyable festive season. Thank you for following us throughout this year. Your support has been important to us and we hope we have contributed to your learning and development. That is our aim.

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©Janice Caplan 2020