Why Did Everyone Stop Giving 'Honest Feedback' at the Workplace?

Published March 12th, 2019 - 08:45 GMT
Honest feedback may have had its moment in the sun, but it isn't relevant anymore. (Shutterstock)
Honest feedback may have had its moment in the sun, but it isn't relevant anymore. (Shutterstock)

Honest feedback. That's an oxymoron if there was one. Hand on heart - how many times have you, in the recent past, given 'honest' feedback to anyone around you in the workplace? And how many times has it come back to bite you in one way or another? 'How do you think was my presentation?' Don't ever answer that with a 'You know what would have made it even more interesting.'.

Nope. Just say "It was fantastic. Well done! I really enjoyed it." Smile, beam, grin, or do whatever it is that you do on such occasions, and move on. You'll still have a friend at work.

'Don't you think I deserve a raise?' must never be answered by a pause. Never. Instead, try "Of course, you do. I'm sure the organisation and the powers that be are fully aware of your selfless contributions. Without a doubt, your deserved restitution will be on its way, sooner than later." You avoided making an enemy right there.

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The trouble with honest feedback is that no one really wants it. Organisations go to great lengths to make it an 'open culture' and a positive one where feedback flows for the greater good of all involved. Sure, they do. But how many managers and employees are made to go through even basic training on providing honest feedback and, more importantly, receiving such feedback? The point is, feedback can be subjective.

You may like the PowerPoint presentation I didn't because you might have got what the presenter was trying to put across. If I'm not the boss of the person asking if she deserves a raise, then I'm probably not in the best position to answer that question. If I'm a colleague at the same hierarchical level in the same department, I may be biased. If I'm not in the same department, I may be too dissociated with her contributions.

The feedback form may have had its moment in the sun, but it isn't so relevant anymore. The ones offering the feedback are becoming increasingly diplomatic while those receiving it are getting hypersensitive. Oh, and do please provide me with your honest feedback on this column!

By Vicky Kapur

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Al Bawaba Business or its affiliates.


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