I just read this article at Thrive Leadership about feedback being an investment rather than a gift. Hmm...I understand the author wants to encourage feedback-giving by focusing on future returns. But I would argue that it is neither.
How can it be a gift? A gift is optional and given only on certain occasions. How can it be investment? Some feedback may have to be given even if they guarantee negative returns in the future.
Thinking of feedback in terms of future returns may discourage honesty. People would have to think twice about giving feedback. What if it’s not good in the long run?
Giving feedback should be thought of as an obligation in the same level as honesty, respect, and professionalism in the workplace. It should be part of the company’s minimum expectations of its people, especially its leaders.
The purpose of giving feedback is to improve performance. Thinking of feedback as either gift or investment focuses mainly on the intention of the giver. Isn’t it true that when we receive gifts, most of us often feel compelled to give back? And isn’t it true that sometimes people give gifts in order to get gifts or favors in return? This makes giving feedback contrived and insincere.
Companies should build up a culture of growth by encouraging people to give the right feedback when needed. In order to build a good workplace, one has to help others. By helping others, people learn and grow.
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Ateneo Graduate School of Business
University of San Carlos