[On the other hand] when I received feedback I caught myself quickly feeling some degree of angst, as my immediate reaction was to protect myself in the event of [whatever I imagined could happen]. What was so cool about this was that I was aware of myself going to reticence and because of this awareness, I was able to shift to a place of curiosity just in time to hear the feedback, which is what I was able to do. And because I could ‘hear’ the constructive feedback I was able to contextualize it in a way that it had meaning for me (a win for sure). While I didn’t agree with all the constructive feedback I received, because it was obvious to the person who was giving me the feedback that I was genuinely listening to it, as I offered my alternate view my feedback partner was able to ‘hear’ it back; i.e., he was open to my view. This two-way open communication definitely allowed for a richer and more meaningful exchange between the two of us”.
2.So What does the topic/homework on giving and receiving feedback have to do with Integral City practice or training?
Our email correspondent wisely observed that:
“I can see that in order to make intelligent decisions that help and move people forward, it is critical that we be as thoughtful as we can about what we think is happening and what needs to happen next. Sharing from the heart and from our own experience allows for the fertile soil of meaningful interaction that benefits all parties even when we consider that some degree of compromise will ensue. From this place of respectful communication, we can start to shape a co-beneficial future, one exchange at a time. It’s also important to balance the constructive with the positive and appreciate the value in capacity building that comes from both, not to mention the fact that it just feels good when we speak out loud or give voice to our positive experience that others have made possible. This sets us up for a 2nd tier future.”
Feedback on our professional performance as facilitators can help us improve and shape our messages about Integral City to different audiences. And in return, we should not be surprised to find those audiences reciprocate with positive feedback that encourages us to keep improving.
Diane called giving and receiving feedback as a form of relationship reciprocity – in the Integral City it is how we “feed” each other in the Human Hive – through storytelling and sharing feedback.
Another of our group, acting as an editor, realized that feedback is invaluable in any situation involving training. It can be just low key, keeping things factual, but feedback can enable business to feel responsive, reactive, and expressive. Particularly in online situations that can humanize it.
One of us shared how an email giving feedback exchange shed light on the yin/yang nature of the mode of exchange. The yin aspect can convey appreciation and the yang can convey facts. But when it is one sided, the yang expression tends to predominate and the message is not experienced in a fulsome way.
We observed that some people are not as comfortable online as they are in person. We could see how this realization was both relevant and powerful. Even watching Diane teach via Zoom video we could see her reference people and give feedback both obliquely and explicitly. When we see faces, even at a distance via Zoom, a huge feedback loop happens. (We remembered the research that shows that 75% of communication is non-verbal, so seeing facial and body expression amplifies the feedback loop.)
It is helpful in city contexts to remember that Action Research uses Appreciative Inquiry dialogue for small group exercises, dyads, and plenary sharing. Experience at the dyad scale can help feedback newbies to listen to each other without interrupting or make wrong-right judgments.
Feedback is primal to the Inquiry intelligence in the Integral City. With the 4 voices, feedback is a relevant way to recognize the contributions from the 4 Voices. When we have designed Learning Lhabitats, we have done that using homogenous groups for feedback first. Then we moved to mixed groups, where feedback, revealed different perspectives.
Feedback can be framed in quadrants, levels, lines, types and filters into giving and receiving. As people become aware of the value of feedback it gives them more insight into each other and tends to generate greater compassion.
Essentially effective feedback leads back to practising the Master Code. Feedback is integral to taking care of others, groups, place, and planet because feedback includes all scales and myself. It can be quite introspective. Feedback is fundamental to facilitating. It can really help raise the experience of mutual trust and respect. if I trust you listen to me, and not try to fix me. Then I respect you a lot more. (And vice versa.)
3.Now What will we do as a result, of our homework experience and sharing on giving and receiving feedback?
In considering what we would do as a result of the feedback insights we shared these ideas.
- We will remember that feedback is not about getting my way or putting someone down or even protesting – feedback is a genuine exchange for constructive purposes.
- It is always relevant to understand the context in which feedback is being exchanged – and how formal or informal it can be.
- It is useful to be mindful of the culture in which we are giving or receiving feedback and get agreement on our intentions.
- We should consider the perspectives that are being used in giving or receiving feedback. Different points of view will not only inspire different kinds of feedback but also influence the skill with which it is given.
- Our exchanges made us appreciate that humour can help defuse a feedback situation – but humour should not be used to avoid genuine, useful and/or necessary feedback.
- An invitation to others to express their point of view must be reciprocated with active listening.
- In Action Research, we can remember to ask participants to use Appreciative Inquiry as a form of feedback that is encouraging for all.
- We can remember the value of feedback to living the Master Code – and actually practice the Master Code by designing feedback opportunities.
- Feedback is essential to the Navigating Intelligence. But we need to remember that if we are steering a ship, we are course correcting all the time – because feedback helps us to dynamically steer and allows us to get to where we intend to go.
- Finally, we can invite others to give us feedback and thereby model remaining open to others and willing to include their point of view.