It’s a Friday evening. You’re invited by friends to come over for dinner. When you enter the kitchen, there is this lovely unidentifiable smell. You wonder and ask — “What are you cooking? It smells amazing!”. The host replies he absolutely loves cooking and that a delicious plate with chicken and vegetables will be the menu of the evening.
After the wine is served and the first bites are taken, the host asks “Do you like it?”. What would your response be to this genuine request for feedback?
Mmm I like it!
Well, the potatoes are great!
Well, I think the potatoes could use some extra seasoning, maybe a little bit more salt? The meat in contrary is almost perfect, I’ve had a similar dish with a touch of curry, something you could try next time? If you want I can put you in touch with that chef, he’s a friend
Most people answer A, because it’s comfortable. But if you know that your friend really loves cooking and aims to get better at it, how much have you contributed to his growth towards the masterchef status? One could argue that people are just polite by saying they appreciate the meal, others would say that the host is only seeking confirmation.
Optimise your Return on Feedback
The biggest roadblock is vulnerability. This works in two directions, the host is asking feedback about his meal. His wording is actually confirmation seeking. Don’t get me wrong, recognition is important for growth, but the host is actually hiding behind these words. What if the host would rephrase the question?
Hey guys, how do you like the meal? It’s a new recipe and I’m not sure if my potatoes and meat are matching. I think there’s something missing. Please, don’t hold back!
What would your response be on this? A, B or C?
Contribute to better feedback
The same thing applies to requesting feedback at work, make sure that you know for yourself if you are looking for confirmation or real feedback. Once you know it, clearly state this in your request. Be vulnerable by sharing your doubts, your reasoning and opinion. This is a short and simple takeaway I have learned during my journey working with some incredibly talented people and building intuo.io.
Feel free to share your personal experiences so far!