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November 13, 2018

Give Honest Feedback

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Let me set the stage by sharing a super interesting experiment conducted by Soloman Asch.  Asch and his team brought in a group of individuals, sat them down at a table, and had them look at four different lines on a board. They then asked that the participants compare the line on the far left with the other lines, and indicate which line they thought was the same length.  In each test, there was clearly only one correct option.  However, all but one person in the group were confederates told to give the wrong answer! Although the study participant knew what line was correct to choose, they gave an intentionally wrong answer because they conformed to the answers of the group.  

Try to give honest feedback. It demonstrates that you have an opinion, you feel like you can add value, and that you care. As seen in the experiment, it is a natural human tendency to refrain from expressing your opinion if it disagrees with the group. But knowing what you do now, you can overcome that tendency and share your honest opinion.

There is an interesting expansion to the Asch experiment. If only one confederate gave a different answer, it didn’t even have to be the right one, then the study participant was far more likely to give their honest feedback. As a leader, this is an interesting observation because you can induce that environment to get honest feedback. Trying things like having people submit anonymous points, or having people write down their initial impressions before any discussion, will help get your team members real thoughts out on the table.  

Be deliberate and get honest feedback so that you can use it to improve!

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