Thanks for the Feedback (Even When It’s Off Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, & Frankly, You’re Not in the Mood) presented by Sheila Heen, faculty, Harvard Law School, best-selling author, Boston, Mass.

SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition

High performance, collaboration and innovation rely on honest, continuous feedback. Yet most people struggle with feedback conversations, whether they’re on the giving side or the receiving end. Fifty-five percent of employees say their performance review is inaccurate or unfair, and one in four dread it more than anything else in their working lives. Sixty-three percent of executives say their biggest challenge to performance management is the unwillingness of managers to have difficult feedback conversations. The typical response is to focus on teaching (and encouraging) managers to give feedback, to be more skillful and more persistent. But if the receiver is unwilling or unable to take in the feedback—to truly understand and wrestle with it—there’s only so far that skillfulness or even persistence can go. 

We’ve been going at it backwards. We should first be teaching everyone—leaders and employees alike—how to receive feedback. The advice must go beyond “don’t take it personally” or “don’t get defensive.” This session will take a hard look at the triggered reactions we all have to feedback, and how to turn even off-base, crazy-making feedback into real learning and growth. The fastest way to change the feedback culture in your organization is to teach your leaders how to receive feedback well. This session will provide a simple framework for understanding our triggered reactions to receiving feedback, both in formal performance reviews and in daily interactions with direct reports, colleagues and superiors. We can better manage all feedback conversations, whether giving or receiving. At the end of this session you will: 

  • Understand the two conflicting human needs at the heart of feedback.
  • Be able to identify three triggers that lead to feedback resistance, as well as to determine emotional sensitivity and how it factors into your response to positive and negative feedback.
  • Teach your leaders to first understand the feedback, and to see their own blind spots.
  • Spot and avoid the “SwitchTrack” conversations that derail feedback conversations and damage working relationships.
  • Encourage “Honest Mirrors” and “Supportive Mirrors” to balance feedback.
  • Handle the “Google Bias” and other identity distortions.
  • Create a learning culture on your teams, and empower your people to drive their own learning.