The art of giving feedback is challenging. Books talk about one’s approach and the key steps to cover. I find that many minimize an important aspect of the feedback process. Life experiences suggest that one’s intent is crucial. What is my intent? Do I have one? As I express myself, do I see my intent shaping my language? Do I see the connection between my words and values? How will another hear my intent?
Feedback is best done in person. It is a face-to-face, look into the eyes, and watch the body language experience. Whatever one might say it is, I find it is deeply personal. Receiving feedback contains an element of responding from the center of one’s being. Giving feedback includes process of expressing a view aimed at the heart of another. I may use external actions as a vehicle to illustrate my perspective, however at the end of the day my words will stand on their own.
I know I have not always succeeded in giving appropriate feedback. At times I came in under prepared. On other occasions, I was so direct that my intent was heard as punishment. Then there were (are) the times when others were not prepared or able to hear.
As I circle through the loops of my memories, I find myself in the present. There is a comment made in a spiritual context that shapes my perspective of what needs to unfold today. When we live out the intent of love, compassion and community, “we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him [Divinity], and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit.” (1 John 4.13) If I can get my intent focused and aligned with compassion, the foundation will rest on my greatest values. It is a choice I am called to make.
I know I have made this choice. The opportunity today is to bring this choice to life – to strive to be prepared, to develop a dialogue of trust, and to open myself up to the process that follows.