Feedback or JFDI

>>  Tuesday, September 08, 2009

When we are 3 full days into my daughters term and I have given my first set of feedback to a member of staff*. I seem to send a number of letters each year into school asking them why something is done in a particular way, or making a suggestion.

In fairness, the school always respond to me and 9 times out of 10 I am happy with the explanation I am given. Occasionally, I just downright disagree with a policy but that's life.

I like context!! I like to understand why something is the way it is, I am usually happy just to say "OK then" when it is explained but so many people take a defensive/brickwall stance when I ask. They see the question as an attack rather than a question.

I like feedback. I am pleased when people tell me if something went well and if something went wrong. I can't fix or change my behaviour if I don't know what works for others. I always like feedback to start with something that did work before telling me what didn't, it softens it a little and I make an effort to do the same, but so many people get very upset if you offer feedback.

I like specifics, I would rather hear "I liked the mushrooms in the stew and the meat was nice and tender" than "that was a nice meal". I like to say to people "I like the shape of your cut, and it suits your face" than "hair looks nice". I think general comments are lazy.

So are the 'happy to hear it, be specific and I want to understand it' types amongst us so much rarer than the JFDIers?

If not, why do so many people jump to their own defense with justifications instead of just simple communication and explanation?

*actually the staff member today was very helpful and responsive but it prompted this train of thought tonight


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