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Feedback That Thang Up, Fearlessly.

We all have that one friend who tells it like it is. They tell you that your outfit looks a mess, your edges are fried and that your boyfriend is ugly on the inside and out. Many times, they use those exact words. But you know what? They’re rude. However, you can change that. Have y’all ever tried Fearless Feedback? No. Well, guess what? As a good friend, you will now.

Feedback is an essential element for growth regardless of whether it’s a friendship or relationship albeit professional or personal. It provides guidance by sharing important information in a useful way, either to support something, or guide someone back on track towards successful performance or relationship. Fearless Feedback takes that growth to the next level. It is becoming naturally unafraid to let the people around you know that you appreciate the ways you all help each other grow. Let me break it down even further. Fearless Feedback can be divided into three categories: the Point, the Process and the Person.

The Point

We all know that old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, that’s wrong. Instead, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, find a better way to speak.”💁🏿‍♂️Fearless Feedback is always constructive and valuable. That is the point. It is a tool you use to build things up, not break people down. It shows the other person that you are allies. So, ask yourself before you give or take any advice, what’s the point of it 🤔?

The Process

Giving and receiving feedback are two of the most unnaturally feeling, yet most common practices. But what’s crazier is that we rarely focus on the development of those skills. It can be awkward giving someone fairly unfamiliar praise and it can be embarrassing for someone to highlight a lesson learned. However, the more you do, the better you will become. 😁 So, let’s get better by:

Focusing on description rather than judgement. Describing someone’s behavior instead of how that made you feel is a way of sharing what actually occurred. Recapturing and recalling the actions or behaviors can help you get closer to the "right or wrong" or "good or bad". By avoiding judgmental or critical language, you reduce the need for anyone else involved to respond defensively.

For example: "You showed up and showed out! You answered every one of the Dr. McStuffins questions about why we should be allowed cell phones in class with confidence and logic!”👏🏾👏🏾 rather than, "Your answers were good.” 😒

Focusing on observation rather than inference. Observations are what you can see or hear about a person’s behavior, while inferences are assumptions and interpretations you make from what you see or hear. And you know what they call you when you make preemptive ASSumptions right 🐴? Focus on what the person did and your reaction.

For example: "When you gave MaryJane her card, you tossed it across the table," rather than describe what you assume to be the person's motivation, "I guess you throw everyone’s cards out that way!"

Providing a balance of positive and negative feedback. Fearless Feedback is not a weapon 🔪or a crown 👑. You will never grow if you constantly hear about what you’re always doing well or what you’re always doing wrong. If you constantly receive or give the same type of feedback people will start to distrust your advice and vice versa. Like a beam, you need balance. 👈🏾 J Cole Flow 😎🎤 Remember, we all have glows, things we do well and grows, things we can improve.

Giving the other person an opportunity to respond. Just hush sometimes 🙊. Remain silent and meet the other person’s eye, indicating that you are waiting for answer. If the person hesitates to respond, ask an open-ended question.

For example: "What do you think?" "What is your view of this situation?" "What is your reaction to this?" or "Tell me, what are your thoughts?" 👍🏿 instead of “Am I crazy?” “Does that make sense?” “You understand what I mean?” 👎🏿

Summarizing and expressing your support. Review the points you are trying to make 📝. Summarize the actions that initiated the conversation, not the negative points of the other person's behavior. Fearless Feedback is about highlighting the main points of the situation good, bad or indifferent. This will always include the things we do well, could improve or continue to be great at doing. By summarizing, you can avoid misunderstandings and check to make sure that communication is two-ways 🔁. Be sure to highlight and celebrate, rather privately or publicly, decisions made, or results received based on Fearless Feedback that benefit you or someone else involved. End on a positive note by communicating confidence in the person's or your ability to improve.

For example: "I know we understand each other better since we talked. I'll do what I can to make sure your pictures are included in the presentation, and I'll hope you will remind me if I do not include as many as you would like.”

The Person

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou

Remember, you are talking to a person…with feelings…who is human.👈🏾 We all make mistakes and need celebrating. Fearless Feedback should be offered with the intent of helping yourself or the other person with creating positive change or reinforcing positive actions. Strive to make it as positive as possible and it will make both of you feel a lot better about the situation and whatever may follow.

Now, if you found this helpful, like this post and most importantly, leave a comment! I want to know how you felt about this. Will you try Fearless Feedback? Did it help you understand how you can help your friends? Did you learn something new? What would you like to see next in the next post? Either way, don't forget to subscribe for updates on the latest posts, opportunities and scholarships!


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