Feedback: Friend or Foe? A Baby Boomer Perspective

The younger generations love seeing themselves on camera — stills, or even better, moving pictures.  What is it about that feeling of seeing our image in real time? And what sort of curiosity is it for us when we have that confirmation?

Those of us born when TV was just emerging as a new technology never had this experience, but we have always yearned feedback. Am I OK? has been one of the abiding questions for human beings throughout our lifetimes. We haven’t always been lucky enough to be given the answer, either.

If we have come from a loving home and have had supportive parents, family and friends, it is the bedrock of wonderful security and self-confidence. The workplace experiences can often be quite different. It was not until the inculcation of Japanese work practices in the 1970s and ’80s that we began to understand the nature of feedback. Simple and straightforward communications were encouraged on regular basis.

Unfortunately, feedback has been absorbed into complex systems and processes. Today, managers often avoid appraisal processes, as a mechanism for good feedback. Feedback is an honest process based on good relationships, respect for each other and quality information. It is not an easy element of managing and leading.

Good feedback is important for every individual — not only to survive but also to thrive. Whether it is immediate is less important than that it is regular, consistent and fair to all.