Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) Book Summary By M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish

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Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) by J.R.

Johnstone is a comprehensive guide to one of the toughest but most important topics for workplace, business and personal growth: giving and receiving feedback.

With clear advice on how to approach giving, seeking, and receiving feedback without the typical resistance we often have towards it, this book is an invaluable resource.

It outlines practical tips for building a positive feedback culture, as well as strategies for helping both ourselves and those around us become better at offering feedback in a constructive way.

By mastering these tips, readers will be able to turn feedback into an opportunity for learning, growth and progress instead of something that can seems overwhelming or awkward.

Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) Book

Book Name: Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) (Why We Fear It, How to Fix It)

Author(s): M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish are the authors of "Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)", an insightful book about creating a culture of continual feedback.

Tamra is the CEO and Founder of PeopleFirm, one of America’s best management consultancies in 2018 according to Forbes magazine.

With clients like T-Mobile, Nordstrom, Nike and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PeopleFirm works with to improve leadership, culture and performance management.

Meanwhile Laura is a senior consultant at the firm.

Through their practical experience at PeopleFirm, Tamra and Laura both have a unique insight into how teams can foster open communication in order to reward innovation and continuously improve operational results.

Shift Your Mindset And Create A Better Feedback Culture In Business

Culture In Business

If you want to reclaim feedback as a positive, empowering force for good, then it’s time to make an effort to build a better feedback culture.

Feedback should be viewed as information and insights that can help us grow, not something that creates feelings of punishment or self-doubt.

One way to do this is by understanding why we have negative reactions to feedback situations and arming ourselves with practical tips for a better approach.

This can include developing better communication skills when delivering feedback or seeking advice from our colleagues and bosses.

It’s also important to keep in mind that better feedback will improve your business’ financial results, so taking the time to foster a more positive environment around feedback pays dividends.

There are also plenty of ways we can create fertile ground for healthy feedback every day – connecting positively with others helps build a foundation where people feel comfortable sharing opinions and constructive criticism without feeling threatened by it.

Finally, by increasing your impact when requesting and receiving feedback you can help ensure that any suggestions are truly meaningful and beneficial to your development.

By changing the way we think about feedback, we can reclaim it as a powerful tool for growth.

The Benefits Of Good Feedback: Why We Should Stop Fearing It And Start Embracing It

Feedback has gotten a bad rap in recent years, largely because it has been mistreated, mishandled and misused by both the person receiving it and the one giving it.

Managers often hoard both positive and negative feedback, then unload it all at once during annual performance reviews; on the other hand, employees can be defensive or argumentative when they receive feedback.

But this mishandling should not overshadow the fact that feedback is an invaluable source of growth and improvement in any organization.

A 2018 study found that providing regular and attentive feedback was the management practice most strongly correlated with employee motivation; a buildup of reports by Officevibe further discovered that a majority of employees want more feedback – an astounding 83 percent appreciate it regardless of whether it was positive or negative!

It is clear that people value good feedback, which is why organizations should strive to build strong Performance Feedback Cultures where managers are trained in how to give productive critiques and incentivized for doing so.

This alone can lead to double the financial gains in one-third companies with such cultures than those without proper feedback procedure.

If we learn to treat feedback as an invaluable asset rather than something to be feared, organizations will benefit from its powerful potential for growth.

How Our Brains And Evolutionary History Responses When Given Feedback And How To Manage It With 4-7-8 Breathing

In this modern world of high-pressure work and constant feedback, it’s no wonder that the prospect of receiving critique can often cause anxiety and even fear.

While this feeling is quite normal, its origin may surprise you.

The culprit for these anxious feelings lies in our brains and our evolutionary past.

If you’ve had negative feedback experience in the past, then an offer of feedback – even if it ends up being positive – will kick off a “fear response” in your primitive brain structure known as the amygdala.

This response was a helpful adaptation thousands of years ago, but unfortunately it isn’t well suited to today’s environment where feedback doesn’t often involve saber-toothed tigers!

So what can you do when your body has already gone into “fight or flight” mode triggered by the anticipation of feedback? A great way to get back on level ground is to focus consciously on your physical sensations like surrounding sounds and objects or the feeling of your feet on the floor which requires activation of your higher-thinking brain structures called prefrontal cortex instead of letting your lower-thinking amygdala take over.

A relaxation technique recommended by health professionals such as 4-7-8 breathing – inhaling silently through nose for a count of four, holding breath for seven seconds, then exhaling for eight seconds – can also help to relieve stress in the moment.

Creating A Better Feedback Culture Begins With Adopting A Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

If we are to grow and properly benefit from feedback, it needs to be defined as something that is clear, specific, and given or sought to help people improve or reach their goals.

Behavior inspired by a growth mindset is what we need in order for feedback to be used for its intended purpose: to help us develop or change.

This means leaving behind negative attitudes towards criticism, investing in development of abilities rather than relying solely on inherent talents, embracing both the passion for learning and the strength of mind needed for improvement.

We must also ask for feedback rather than only waiting passively for it, creating an increased demand that reinforces the idea that growth is important.

If we remember that challenges can be faced with confidence and support, our behavior will become more accepting of negative feedback.

Doing so helps us remind ourselves that it offers valuable opportunities to learn and make better efforts in the future.

When this attitude is adopted widely in a workplace, it provides the foundation for a better feedback culture.

Building A Stable Foundation For Positive Feedback Through Connection, Noticing, And Openness

If you want to create a positive feedback culture that is effective and lasting, you need to start by building some essential foundations – namely, connection, trust and taking notice.

Connection can be achieved by investing time in getting to know your colleagues better – that’ll make it easier for them to fully trust you.

The next step is practicing the 5:1 ratio advocated by marriage therapist Dr.

John Gottman: five positive interactions for every negative one.

Doing this will do wonders for the relationships between colleagues, leading to a much more positive work environment overall.

Finally, taking notice involves observing people without judgment or emotion and giving clear, factual feedback based on those observations.

Not only will this make the quality of feedback conversations much higher, but it will also increase your own ability to provide helpful feedback on a regular basis.

By nurturing these essential foundations of connectiion, trust and taking notice, you’ll experience first hand just how powerful (and effective) proper feedback can be!

Stop Waiting For Feedback: How To Become A Great Seeker Of Performance Reviews

When it comes to seeking feedback, specificity is key.

Make sure your request is focused and concise so you can get the most from the responses you receive.

Do your research beforehand so you are able to ask for specifics instead of having a wide open question than can become difficult for the respondent to answer.

Additionally, be sure to get feedback from multiple diverse sources when seeking feedback.

This will increase the depths of information you receive and make a better overall picture of how you’re performing.

Don’t just focus on getting feedback from leaders or managers, peer-to-peer recognition is seen as one of the best ways to gain valuable insight.

A study by recognition solutions provider Globoforce found that peer-to-peer recognition was almost 36 percent more likely to positively affect financial results than manager-employee recognition alone.

By gathering feedback from multiple sources with different perspectives, we can benefit from a richer chorus of voices.

How To Make Use Of Feedback With The Right Questions And Positive Intentions

Positive Intentions

It’s important to remember that even if you’re the one receiving feedback, you still have to put in the work to get the most out of it.

Make sure that you ask the right questions and stay in control of your emotions.

This will help ensure that feedback sessions are productive and beneficial.

For instance, if too many vague statements are being made, ask for specifics.

If a behavior has had an impact on the team, don’t be afraid to ask about it.

Or if too many issues are being brought up at once, single-mindedly ask what you should be doing more of to tackle one specific issue.

Receiving feedback can sometimes be difficult and emotionally charged.

Psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema has explored how negative feelings around a single stressor can trigger wave after wave of related negative thoughts which take over our brains and obscure any positives.

The Key To Giving Good Feedback: Get To Know Yourself And Focus On Frequent, Bite-Sized Insights

Giving effective feedback is essential for growth and reflection.

That’s why it’s important to understand yourself and your own approach to working life and communication style so you can use the right tone and keep your goals clear when giving out feedback.

A good way forward is to focus on frequent, bite-sized bits of information, because research suggests that giving informal feedback at least every two weeks significantly increases learning outcomes.

Keeping things small and manageable helps ensure that your feedback will be taken seriously, especially if you start with positive messages instead of criticizing someone’s performance.

Finally, try to spread more positive feedback since a lot of people underestimate how much impact good news has on their coworkers.

Wrap Up

The final message from the book “Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)” is that feedback can be a powerful tool for growth when it is done correctly.

To help make this happen, the book recommends taking the Implicit Association Test which can reveal any ingrained biases or stereotypes when giving or receiving feedback.

By becoming aware of such influences, we can give more truly fair and objective feedback, allowing us to achieve greater personal and business growth through constructive feedback.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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