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Do you need to get better at giving and receiving feedback? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of consultant Ben Dattner. They talk through what to do when your employee wants to give you feedback, your feedback to others doesn’t seem to make a difference, or someone who isn’t your boss comments about your performance.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list:

HBR: The Right Way to Respond to Negative Feedback by Tasha Eurich — “While critical feedback can frequently be given objectively and with the purest of motives, it can also be inaccurate and/or nefarious in nature: a coworker who wants to throw us off our game; a boss who has completely unachievable expectations; an employee who is scared to speak truth to power; a friend who projects her own issues onto us. It’s hard to know what is real and what should be filtered out.”

HBR: In Performance Appraisals, Make Context Count by Ben Dattner — “Organizations could achieve greater accuracy in evaluating employee performance by considering both the person and the situation. However, this is rarely done. Consider a call center where the performance of employees is assessed based on the volume of sales or the dollar amount of charitable donations. It may be the case that two employees sitting in adjacent work spaces are assigned different geographic regions, or different populations of potential customers or donors.”

HBR: The Feedback Fallacy by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall — “The first problem with feedback is that humans are unreliable raters of other humans. Over the past 40 years psychometricians have shown in study after study that people don’t have the objectivity to hold in their heads a stable definition of an abstract quality, such as business acumen or assertiveness, and then accurately evaluate someone else on it. Our evaluations are deeply colored by our own understanding of what we’re rating others on, our own sense of what good looks like for a particular competency, our harshness or leniency as raters, and our own inherent and unconscious biases.”

HBR: How Leaders Can Get Honest, Productive Feedback by Jennifer Porter — “Sharing feedback is often interpersonally risky. To increase the likelihood of your colleagues taking that risk with you, show them that their honesty won’t be met with negative repercussions. You can do this before you ask for feedback by being curious, rewarding candor, and showing vulnerability. Being curious starts with having the right mindset, or believing that you have something useful to learn.”

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