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How to Take Feedback

Posted by  Martijn Seijsener

We are in business for people. We’re creating smarter, more connected organizations powered by our enterprise solutions that allow people to make a difference – no matter where they are. Our work will have a positive and bigger impact on everyone who uses our solutions – from students to project managers, volunteers to CFOs.

We are not able to make an impact on real people in real life without investing in the skills and competences of everybody in Unit4 and we believe that by having the best people, are able to make a difference. We invest in our leaders and equip them with the right tools, skills and mindset so that they there are able to excel. To lead us in the future. Every month, our management will share their thoughts on leadership, team work and management. Enjoy our 4th blog of this series in which our Global Learning and Development Specialist, Martijn Seijsener, will share his thoughts on how to take feedback!

How to Take Feedback

Within the uber-competitive software industry, millions of confident, talented professionals strive to create the best products and to deliver the best support and service to customer so they can focus on what really matters: serving their customers. This type of environment often draws individuals driven by “Type-A” personalities that thrive on constant success. As a result, especially at the top of the industry, some people can respond negatively to feedback that suggests imperfection.

It can be quite difficult to take feedback because it might be ego-based, or a result of rarely experiencing criticism. However, we find it important to use honest feedback as a valuable source of information and inspiration. This is something we build upon as an employer and we invest in by constantly paying attention to it.

Modern Feedback Spares None From Scrutiny

The evolution of HR software and mobile computing has enabled organizations to gather performance-based data from a wide variety of people involved with a business, including customers, employees and management. Previously, the vast majority of companies featured feedback that trickled down from the top, with the only meaningful criticism derived from the opinions of a direct supervisor or manager.

Due to the change in the way companies implement performance improvement processes, people who were previously sheltered from feedback are now considered part of the procedure. Responding to 360-degree feedback will become an increasingly important part of career development in Unit4.

Getting the Most Out of Constructive Feedback

Assuming that we aren’t completely ambivalent about our business performance, we have access to a pair of choices when faced with feedback, with each decision leading to a separate outcome. Sometimes it is difficult not to respond negatively to feedback, and so entering what’s referred to as a "victim loop." However, we want to make progress as individuals and as teams so we keep being aware to enter the “accountability loop”.

The accountability loop consists of a mindset that starts with owning any problems that may exist, while the victim loop begins with denial. Facing feedback allows for self-examination, which leads to taking action, fixing issues and learning from the entire process. Avoiding the truth behind the feedback leads to denial and shifting blame, which prevents us from learning and improvement.

Similar to many business processes, the goals that we want to achieve dictate the purpose and the intent behind feeding the accountability loop. 

By allowing ourselves and our business to engage in an honest, open dialogue about performance, we want to enable a working culture that prizes feedback instead of shying away from potential improvement because of negative emotion and insecurity. A certain level of self-awareness and humility is prerequisite, particularly for high achievers and those who have earned positions of power within the industry. Choosing to accept and act appropriately to feedback is far more valuable to performance and profit than protecting egos.

Martijn Seijsener

Martijn Seijsener

Martijn Seijsener is Global Learning and Development Specialist at Unit4. Bringing more than 12 years’ experience in increasing employees’ abilities, skills and competences. His mission is to create a learning culture within Unit4 through learning solutions that aim to strengthen our leadership and employees and so maximizing performance and creating a competitive advantage in the market.

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