In this episode of How People Work, Jordan and Jason delve into various aspects of the feedback fallacy and its impact on personal and professional growth. The introduction sets the stage, highlighting the significance of managers in determining the health of an organization. The discussion then shifts to the common claim that everyone wants direct feedback, questioning its validity.
The podcast explores how well-intentioned attempts to help others learn might inadvertently limit their growth, raising questions about conventional wisdom that encourages working on weaknesses. Instead, Jason and Jordan argue to reject this claim and focus on strengths.
People hinder their own growth by fixating on weaknesses, and Jordan advocates for a shift in perspective. Great managers are highlighted as those who prioritize leveraging the strengths of their team members when building their teams.
Jason challenges the belief that others are more aware of our weaknesses than we are, emphasizing the of self-discovery over feedback, suggesting that personal exploration yields greater benefits.
Word of the day
- Rarefied — Jason wins again!
- 0:00 Intro
- 2:14 Managers determine the health of an organization
- 4:02 Everyone says they want direct feedback. But do they really?
- 5:30 50% of your rating of someone else is really just reflective of your own characteristics
- 8:23 Receiving feedback from someone you trust may help you accept and internalize it more, but you can only promote growth beyond that set point
- 11:21 You could be limiting your people’s growth in the way you’re going about trying to help them learn
- 12:06 Humans learning as an empty vessel vs. buds on a branch
- 14:45 Conventional wisdom tells us to work on our weaknesses. Why we should reject that claim
- 16:59 People are stifling their growth by focusing on their weaknesses
- 18:25 Great managers focus on the strengths of their people when building their teams, not the weaknesses
- 22:07 Others are not more aware of your weaknesses than you are 29:59 We are hardwired to make up stories of why something might be when we don’t understand something
- 35:18 Self-discovery is more valuable than feedback
How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For nearly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our vocation, more time perhaps than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a problem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be integrated deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most important goals and values. And if it is, we have a far more complete and fulfilling life experience. Welcome to the How People Work podcast, where we explore the intersection of how humans think and act and how they apply themselves to their work. When you understand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insightful, compassionate, and compelling leaders.
Welcome back to How People Work. This is Jordan Peace with my co-host Jason Murray. Say hi, Jason. Hello. Nice deep hello. Welcome to Episode 16. Today we’re going to be talking about feedback and something called the feedback fallacy, as coined by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in a recent Harvard Business Review article that they wrote. Jason has been, as we like to say, nerding out on this recently. And as he’s going to walk us through this article, the things that really jumped out to him, and we’ll discuss our thoughts and feedback on this idea of the feedback policy.
Yeah, it’s recent as of 2019. Okay. I think when it first came out, but -
So my word, I’m not sure my word recent was appropriate.
Well I mean, the funny thing was when I came across it for the first time, I was like, how have I never heard about this article before? Although it is one of Harvard Business Review’s, like top hundred articles of all time or something. So at least some number of people. I imagine that is a large number.
That’s a big one. Yeah, sure .
Has read this, but -
That’s okay. We don’t have to justify the article you picked. Yeah, it’s our podcast. Let’s just do it.
It certainly doesn’t feel that it’s become widespread or conventional wisdom, let’s say, as it relates to business practice.
It takes decades for something to become conventional.
And it felt like it was perfect for How People Work because some of the stuff they elucidated in the article really has to do with how we as human beings work. Some of the kind of brain science behind how feedback works, as well as how we go about at work. Because the applications of these things are very much in relation to a workplace setting and how we operate as teams and whatnot. And in particular how managers or people responsible for giving feedback who tend to be managers and leaders work with their teams. And so I thought that was interesting because in some previous episodes we have discussed how managers can be essentially the limiters or the governors on the growth of an organization.
Absolutely. And they determine the health of the culture of the organization. The number one reason for people leaving an organization is their manager. Right. Harder to survey, but I would guess potentially the number one reason why people stay is also their manager.
If they have a good one. That’s my own guess on that. I’m not sure the data around that, but that’s interesting. I mean, the conventional wisdom, obviously where we’re headed here because the article is called the Feedback Fallacy. You would think feedback’s good. Feedback is a very good thing. I’ve had many people ask me for feedback or tell me I’m not giving them enough feedback or that we should do 360 reviews or we should blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. There’s always an ask for how am I doing? Give me feedback, whatever to scratch some kind of itch of insecurity or whatever the case may be. So I’m interested to dig into this and find out why that is maybe not the right approach.
Yeah. Well, it’s funny because I was listening to a podcast earlier this week and they were talking about it. Feedback came up, it wasn’t the central theme, but feedback came up as kind of a topic they were discussing. And it was funny because they were saying, well, I always ask employees how do they want to receive feedback? And everyone will tell you that they want direct feedback. And they were laughing about it. Cause they’re like, everyone lies, nobody actually wants direct feedback because when they get it, it’s really hard and it’s emotional and you don’t really take it well. And I thought, oh, that’s so fascinating because it actually relates very directly to a lot of the science and the research and this particular article or paper, if you will, around why that is why it’s hard to receive feedback. So to set a little bit of context here, I mean, many people listening probably understand that feedback is something that has been encouraged and sort of praise and criticize what workers do.
So your job as a leader manager is like tell people when they’re doing a good job, tell people when they’re doing a bad job. But it turns out from this research that Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall have done that the feedback does not actually help employees thrive or it doesn’t help in the way that we’ve often thought it does. And so there’s a couple theories that they lay out here that we’ll go through, but to kind of set the table for those, the research kind of high level shows that people can’t reliably rate the performance of others. And so what they found is that more than 50% of your rating of somebody else really just is reflective of your own characteristics, not that particular individual. Secondly, that the neuroscience behind all this reveals that criticism provokes this flight or flight — fight or flight response in human beings.
And which is a very deeply wired kind of evolutionary part of our kind of brain chemistry. And it actually inhibits our learning. And so feedback is designed or thought of to help promote learning and growth when in fact, critical feedback in particular triggers this fight or flight response, which actually means our brain shuts down. We’re not able to learn and grow through that in the same way. And then lastly, excellence looks different for each individual. And I think this one is really particularly interesting, but the excellence is idiosyncratic. And so it’s not just sort of something objective that’s transferred from me. I know how to do things well and I’m going to share with you how to do those things well. That is much more individualistic and context specific for each and every individual. So
Wow, that’s fascinating. It makes perfect sense. That first bullet there around more than half of the rating you’re giving someone else is just a reflection of how you see yourself and maybe how you see that other person distinctly different than yourself. And you’re kind of judging what’s good, what’s bad, what are good qualities, what are bad qualities, or what’s a good approach or good language based on me as I am the centerpiece of the universe and the arbiter of what is and shouldn’t be. Right? So that makes perfect sense. We are very focused on ourselves and very much see the world through the lens of how similar or different is someone else than me. And that’s kind of how we make a value judgment. So that’s fascinating. I’m interested in this fight or flight response. I wonder what’s meant by criticism. I wonder how much the depth of relationship matters there. I wonder how much, if there’s intimacy and trust, then that criticism can come across as something really helpful, constructive, but yeah, that fight or flight intense, that that’s an intense reaction to, Hey, I didn’t really love the way you led that training. Yeah, I think you could have done better here and there that it is visceral, just like, well, I’ll just get out of here. No, or I’m going to argue with you about it.
Yeah. I mean, think it’s interesting and it sort of jumps ahead a little bit, but it’s worth jumping ahead to that point because I think it’s a question that I had as well when I came across this as well. If it’s somebody that I really trust and value their opinion and can maybe receive it without such emotional angst, let’s say that perhaps it’s better. And what they would say here is that the kind of science around how our brains work is that there’s sort of a learning set point. And so really negative criticism doesn’t promote growth. It can correct you back to a set point.
And so what happens then is maybe from a friend, I can receive that criticism more openly, and so I’m able to accept it and internalize it. And when I do so it doesn’t actually promote growth beyond that set point. It just restores me to that set point. So it’s like if there is negative criticism that actually is true and merited, let’s say, yeah, then it’s not necessarily helping me grow beyond a certain point. It’s just bringing me back up to that level set point.
This is a really basic example, but what came to mind? So my son is in his, what, I guess, third year playing baseball, Jackson, the seven year old, and working with him on his swing and which is a delicate thing to begin with, with kids, because my dad will tell you, he over-engineered my swing and actually my swing kind of fell apart when I was a teenager and he blames himself and I’m like, I don’t care. I was never going to be a pro baseball player. It’s not that serious. But he still beats himself up. But I think about all the little corrections I give him, keep that back elbow up, stop dropping your shoulder, those sorts of things. It’s like I’m just getting him back to the set point of the swing that’s as good as he can produce right now. But I’m not, well, sometimes I do, but when I give him new ideas, I’m just like, Hey, actually you don’t really hit with your arms, you hit with your hips. You got to pull your hips through and showing that there can be a marked improvement. Well beyond the difference between getting back to that set point. And I’ve seen, and I know this is silly because, but it’s just what I’ve been focusing on the last couple of months with him, and he’s so into baseball right now. So it’s really important to him to learn. And he has grown leaps and bounds, but not so much because of the little corrections and the criticisms, but because of the new ideas, because of the different aspects of take a step towards the pitcher or take, get, get back in the box a little bit and let the ball travel a little for whatever, those new little things and he just lights up and grows significantly. Again, it’s maybe not the best example for work.
I think it’s a great, yeah, a great example actually because I think it does point to the fact that we learn in different ways and the way in which we are going to promote growth is not going to be the same for every individual. And so pertains very directly to managers because I think our tendency is to apply the way in which we learn to those that we lead. And so we’re going to approach it in a certain way without maybe even recognizing the fact that, well, we could be limiting somebody’s growth in the way that we’re going about trying to help them learn. So it actually ties in. So I’m going to go out a little bit out of order because there’s a couple theories that they -
Nobody listening has the article in front of ‘em anyway, so
Or fallacies -
You make up whatever order you want.
So this is number two in the article if you’re reading it, which we’ll share in the show notes. So fallacy number two, they refer to as the theory of learning. And the fallacy is that the process of learning is filling up an empty vessel. And so what they’re saying is that the kind of incorrect thinking is that people are just empty vessels.
There’s just nothing there at all.
Pouring this new knowledge into them. And what they say is learning is actually less a function of adding something that isn’t there than it is of recognizing, reinforcing, and refining what already is. So thinking of it more as buds on a branch. The branch exists, there’s buds forming. We want to stimulate growth along that branch in a bunch of different ways. And that’s actually true when it comes to how our brains work. So in our brains, there’s bundles of neurons in our brain with synapses that already exist. And what neuroscientists have found is that it’s easier to develop new neural connections where the bundles of neurons are already most densely connected. Interesting. And so as a result, what it means is when you find those areas of strengths that people already have, your brain can literally form connections faster and more easily than in areas that it has fewer or weaker neural connections.
Interesting. Yeah. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. The image that came to my mind was certain types of exercise. If you were, you had exercise your legs really, really well and your core really, really well, but you’ve never done a box jump in your life, but you’ve done so many squats and so many sit ups and so many things to exercise the core and the legs. And I go, okay, we’re going to put those two things together and we’re going to jump on top of this 42 inch box or whatever.
That’d be a tall box jump.
Well, 36, let’s go with 36.
Also, it’s a pretty tall -
You’re going to nail it, but we’re talking about a person that’s really in shape with their legs in, but they’ve never seen this exercise before. They’ve never seen the combination of these two things together before. But because the individual parts are so strong, combining them together is so much easier as opposed to try to bring something completely new and weak and undeveloped in, that’s tough.
Right. And I think where that example is good is when I think about -
My numbers are all wrong and 18 inch, I don’t know. I don’t do box jumps.
If anyone CrossFits out there, 24 inches would be the prescription for men doing box jumps.
I try to jump as little as possible.
Yeah. It’s better for the knees. So yeah, I mean, think what’s useful about that analogy is sort of the opposite viewpoint, which I think is more conventional in business settings, which is work on your weaknesses, right?
It’s like, oh, I have a weakness, so I need to focus on that area really intensely and improve my weaknesses because that’s what’s going to make me better and make me more well-rounded. And that’s actually just false. One, it’s harder. It’s going to be harder, literally harder for your brain to actually make those connections to improve in an area that you’re weaker and it’s far more efficient and far more effective to focus on the areas where you’re strongest. And so what they talk about in the article is how getting that attention to our strengths from others in particular. So somebody recognizing areas that you are strong in and pointing that out to you actually catalyzes learning. Whereas attention to weaknesses tends to smother it.
Did that fallacy, that very thing of trying to improve weaknesses, focusing on our weaknesses has probably been the biggest stumbling block in my entire life or career. I think the majority of where my learned imposter syndrome has come from in this role as a CEO of a company is from this very thing of, I’ve spent so many years focusing on my weaknesses and determining what all those weaknesses are. And there are many. So I had this laundry list in my mind of all these things that I’m bad at, and it held me back immensely. And I remember when, when we started Fringe, we didn’t start Fringe with a CEO. It was just, Hey, we got co-founders and we’re just doing this thing together. Right? And then a day came where we had that conversation, right? And one, I can’t remember who, but somebody said, I think it should be Jordan.
And I was like, me? Can I give you my list of weaknesses, please? And then there was agreement around that in the room. And I remember that being a really honoring moment from people wanting that, but also a really terrifying moment of just like, me? And it’s taken me years to realize that it’s not the weaknesses that make me capable of doing the job that I’m doing, it’s the strengths, right? Because I can be disorganized, I can be fuzzy on details, I can forget people’s names right and left. I can have all these weaknesses. But because of a few things, the ability to cast vision, the ability to make decisions without an enormous amount of facts and analysis to go off of, the ability to stand strong in the commitments that we’ve made and rally the troops and recruit people and go. Those few strengths, and there’s not a whole lot of ‘em. And you always tell me I’m too hard on myself, but there’s not a ton. But there are the right strengths for the particular job, and that’s enough. And man, I mean, that just jumped off the page to me when I read it that I’m like, oh my gosh. People are stifling their growth to a degree that it’s hard to even explain by focusing on their weaknesses.
Well, and I think this is why the work of a great manager leader is crafting the role of people on your team to fit the strengths. It’s looking at your team and saying, where is everybody strong and maximizing those strengths, right? Because trying to mitigate the weaknesses is just going to be kind of a fool’s errand. And so it’d be much more effective and positive experientially for the people on the team to have that focus on the strengths. And so -
Yeah, and thus that third point you read earlier, excellence looks different for each individual. If we define excellence as one singular thing and everyone needs to go after that one singular definition of excellence, right, then, I mean, that’s a disaster, right?
Because they’re just things that try as I might, I’m never going to be able to excel at, and there are things that I can excel at that others just either wouldn’t excel at or wouldn’t even try. It just seems so far outside of their skillset.
Yeah. So I think it’s worth, I mean, I don’t think you’d be overstated here what they’re saying about this. So there’s another psychology and business professor who summarizes some of this by saying that the strong negative emotion that’s produced by criticism, so what we would construe as constructive feedback, which is going to be received as criticism, because it is, right? It inhibits access to existing neural circuits and invokes cognitive, emotional and perceptual impairment. So it literally stifles that ability to grow. But what was funny is, I know you’re a science fiction lover as am I.
This is where I nerd out.
es. And it reminded me immediately when I saw that of a quote from the book or the movie now Dune, where they say, fear is the mind killer. So the full quote is, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.” And so I think that kind of negative criticism, what it does is, what’s it do? It surfaces fears inside of us, and those fears are little deaths that we live through because they’re parts of our internal psyche that are just really difficult to push through.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think that fear is probably a really good word. Fear is actually the thing that paralyzes. The criticism is like, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s like the precipitating event that leads to the thing that paralyzes people. It’s not the criticism itself, it’s the self-talk and the psychological stress caused after the criticism that leads to the fear of, I’m not good enough, or I’m not worthy, or I’m not valuable, or I can’t, whatever, fill in the blank. That’s the thing that is so damaging and so difficult to overcome. Cause we all have fears, but I think one of the things that really helps us overcome those fears is if we’re able to see where our strengths are, where our contribution is, where is the place, it’s okay that I’m bad at X, Y, Z because I’m great at ABC. You know that that’s your way out of that fear in many cases. So I love that.
So I think what’s interesting, and this kind of goes back to fallacy number one in this report that they’ve put out, but it ties into the sense that if we’re thinking about criticism, if we’re thinking about how we learn, the assumption often is, well, my criticism is in fact valid, that if I’m going to offer you some kind of constructive criticism that it’s in fact rooted in some sort of factual basis that’s objectively true. Right? And what they are putting forth here is that that’s sort of a theory of the source of truth that isn’t actually accurate. And so the sort of fallacy that they call out here is that other people are more aware than you are of your weaknesses. And so therefore, what needs to happen in order for criticism or feedback to be good feedback is that they’re exposing to you things that you don’t know about yourself. And what they call it is idiosyncratic rater effect. But that kind of goes back to the first thing that we talked about is that more than half of our rating of someone, of someone else reflects our own character, our own characteristics, and not theirs. And so in other words, the research shows that our feedback, I mean, this is kind of sort of shocking to say it in this way, but feedback is more distortion than truth because, if we accept -
Well, you said it was more than 50%.
If we accept the premise, the only objective reality that we can really ascertain is that of our own sense of strength and weaknesses and not necessarily somebody else’s, then whenever we’re giving somebody else some kind of feedback, we ought likely to be doing it with more humility, right? Yes. And probably less is an entirely true proclamation.
Yeah. I think the only part of this that I would push back on is not so much, not so much the idea that the feedback about who you are, what your weaknesses are. I think that’s a really great concept. It tracks that people are aware of the weaknesses, right? Unless I don’t know what the word is exactly, but there are certain people that are so neurotic that they don’t see any weaknesses of themselves. There are some rare people -
But your run in the mill individual is going to see and be keenly aware of the things that they’re bad at, the thing that they’re bad at, have held them back in life. They’ve been embarrassed. They’ve put struggle in their way and struggle in relationships, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So you’re probably not telling me anything new when you tell me about a trait that I’m like, Jordan, you’re so disorganized. Yeah. I’m like, I’ve known that since I was like seven. Right? Thanks for the feedback. But when feedback I think is useful is the particular event of, Hey, the way you spoke to this person that day, you should probably go apologize. You are too hard on them. Those individual mistakes. I think that is where the peer-to-peer feedback is useful. Because sometimes we are maybe intentionally blind to our own failure kind of relationally and so forth. Not so much, not so much blind to our traits. Just to differentiate the two a bit, because I think there is a usefulness in going like, Hey, man, you were a jerk yesterday. I don’t know if you saw that. Right?
Yeah, that’s true. So I think what’s really, to me, fascinating about this is, again, some of the brain research, and there’s some other stuff that I was aware of that I think was applicable here from a book that I read some time ago called The Happiness Hypothesis. And what happens is this very weird thing between our left brain and our right brain. And so neuroscientists that look at this stuff have actually figured out that our left brain and our right brain interpret the world differently. And that when there’s gaps between the two, that one side of our brain will fill that narrative gap in a way that might actually not be entirely accurate. And so I think that’s part of the reason that this sort of idiosyncratic rater effect comes into play, is our brain isn’t always telling us the truth in terms of our actual observation. So there was a study that a psychologist did, and I’m going to read this cause I just think it’s so wild.
I was just reading it and I’m like, what in the world is this?
It’s so wild. But I think it pertains, I promise.
And I believe you. It’s just what was going on with this sentence?
So there’s a psychologist, I can’t pronounce his name, so I’m not going to try to, but what they did was, in this study, they flashed different pictures to two hemispheres of the brain. So the way that they did that is they would cover one eye and flash an image to the other eye.
Because your right eye correlates with your left hemisphere. And vice versa. I’ve heard of this.
Exactly. So yeah, that’s exactly right. And so what happened was they would flash a picture of a chicken claw to the right eye, and then -
Totally random. And then they’d flash a picture of a house and a car covered in snow on the left.
And so this is how it kind of relates to how your brain’s interpreting these two things. So the patient was shown an array of pictures, and then they were asked to point to the one that goes with quote, goes with what they had seen.
Like a match, a matching exercise, a child’s game of which of these things go together type of thing.
Right. And so the patient would point with their right hand to the picture of the chicken that went with -
Which was the side that was shown to the right eye.
To the left or to the right eye.
Which was the left -
Which your left hemisphere processed. Okay.
Okay. Got it.
So the right hand pointed to the picture of the chicken, which went with the chicken claw that the left hemisphere had seen with the right eye.
Got it. Okay.
But the left hand pointed to a picture of a shovel, which went with the snow scene presented to the right hemisphere. But when the patient was asked to explain -
Because you’re thinking snow:shovel, chicken:chicken claw.
You would think so.
Which is logical.
But then they asked the subjects of these tests to explain the reason that they had picked — the reason for their two responses. They didn’t say, I have no, he did not say, I have no idea why my left hand is pointing to a shovel. It must be something you showed my right brain. Instead, the left hemisphere made up a plausible story where the patient said, without any hesitation, oh, that’s easy. The chicken claw goes with the chicken, and you need a shovel to clean out the chicken shed.
What chicken shed?
Exactly. So that hemisphere of the brain didn’t even register, like house snow shovel. Wow. It was connecting the dots to the chicken and assuming, oh, you need the shovel to scoop out all the chicken poop in the chicken shed.
It’s related to the chicken and the — right, wow.
The way that these studies, it was very instantaneous flashes. So the way that they did it, I mean, it’s really fascinating. There’s a lot more information on that particular study that they did in the book. But what’s really shocking about it is the fact that your brain, the one hemisphere of your brain, is literally going to make up a story for something that it sees that doesn’t make sense to it. And so the ways in which we connect the dots, then, I think that’s where humility comes into play, is acknowledging the fact that the way that I might be seeing the situation
Might not be accurate. So to come into a situation where I’m going to give you feedback and I’m a hundred percent confident that I’m right in the feedback that I’m giving you is probably inaccurate. And so a better approach would be coming into it thinking, Hey, I’m seeing something here. I don’t know if it’s right. Maybe I have a more humble attitude in my approach to it, because it’s less, I universally know something to be true about you that you don’t see interesting. It’s actually acknowledging my brain. I see something, I don’t know if I’m connecting the dots here the right way.
Man. I feel like I have two examples that come to mind. One is, I think about a child when they see, every night, my son asked me to close his closet door because his closet door because the closet is darker than the room, even though there’s barely any light in the room, he wants me to close the closet door. And I think as an adult, I’m just like, well, the closet’s dark because there’s less opportunity for light to seep into it because there’s a small crack in the door. It’s why it’s dark. But to him, it’s dark because it’s an evil place full of monsters. He creates a story for the thing that he doesn’t understand, or under the bed or whatever. That’s children’s imaginations, the adults’ imaginations. We create stories for what we don’t understand. The place where I create stories is I’ll observe something about, just like you’re saying, observe something about someone, see a pattern in someone’s behavior, in someone’s life, and what they do, what they say, how they act, how they walk, how the face they make.
And I’ll make up a story in my head as to why that exists. And then I’ll make the mistake occasionally of going to that person and saying, are you like this because of ABC, this story that I made up? Sometimes you get lucky and they’re like, wow, that was pretty good. But other times it’s like, no, and they’re offended. Cause why don’t you just ask me about it instead of just making up this narrative out of nowhere. That’s a fascinating idea that if we don’t understand something, we don’t just chalk it up to like, well, I just need more information. I don’t understand. We will create some truth, some narrative, because we need the closure of this is what it is.
And I mean it, that’s not unknown or uncommon and kind of neuroscience either. It’s just not something I think that’s commonly known. I mean, I didn’t know it until I read this book first, and then this article obviously brought some of this out, but our brain uses heuristics all the time, which are essentially shortcuts. And so we categorize things like our brain without us knowing, categorizes things in ways that allows us to make shortcuts so that we can interpret the world more quickly. It’s like, oh, you’re a person like, oh, this, that’s a wall. Well, is it a wall? I don’t know. It’s bricks and there’s paint on it, and you know, could deconstruct it to a level that, but my brain instantaneously just recognizes it as a wall. It’s a heuristic. And so instead of taking in all the information that you could possibly take in -
Which would be -
Right, which is infinite, it’s an infinite
Like what a trip is.
Yeah, exactly. Right. So because you can’t take in this infinite, infinite amount of information, your brain automatically categorizes things and makes shortcuts. And so as a result, your categories and shortcuts aren’t always as accurate as they might need to be. And I think that’s what pertains here is when we’re making judgements around feedback and what’s true -
Based on shortcuts, right?
Yeah. Inevitably, we’re categorizing something, our brain’s taking a shortcut, not purposefully or maliciously, but we just have to understand that it may not be accurate in the way that we think it’s accurate as a complete and universal source of truth.
Thus, the feedback we give is mostly unhelpful. Correct. Right. Because it’s not coming from a place of, for lack of a better word, researching a person and asking them questions and really understanding the depths of what’s going on. It’s coming from a place of pattern recognition of, well, I knew a person that acted similarly years ago.
That’s how we do it.
They’re robably exactly like them, so therefore, here’s the value judgment that I’m going to make.
I mean, it’s funny now that I’m thinking about it because what’s most powerful or somebody else telling you something about yourself.
Self discovery hands down.
I mean, that’s exactly, yeah. I think what we’re talking about here is if you can help people versus saying like, Hey, I know something about you that you don’t know about yourself. Yeah, obviously. So I’m going to bestow upon you this truth that I understand that you clearly don’t understand, versus, Hey, I’m going to ask some questions. Maybe I have an insight, maybe not. I don’t know. But if I approach it in a way that helps you maybe draw out of yourself that self-discovery, it’s more valuable.
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. I think that’s why stories are so powerful. When you want to get your point across as somebody, or you want to help them discover something about themselves instead of just directly saying, Hey, I noticed this about you. What’s up with that? Going, you know, I was in a situation recently where I was faced with this challenge, and here’s how I responded, and here’s what I learned from it. And you just sort of walk away and let that story linger. I think people can connect to the, oh, right, okay. Yeah. What they learned is maybe similar to what I need to learn, and I think it’s more useful. No, there’s nothing that’s going to elicit that fight or flight situation about just telling your own story to, given your own experiences to somebody that really, I think, helps them learn. Which again, goes back to the concept we talk about all the time of intimacy, right? Yes. You got to get intimate with people. You got to share a little bit about yourself and a little bit about your life, or you really can’t help them. But I think that’s the only kind of feedback that is really a safe space to help people actually grow, is just to kind of hear what you’ve been through and learn from your mistakes.
But that takes some vulnerability to do that. Well, this is good. I like this topic. I think it’s a fantastic paper. It’s so many, it’s interesting. There’s so many things that we just blindly accept. It’s just like, yep. Feedback? A hundred percent a good thing, no questions asked. We should do that. We should do it more. We should do it as often as we can. And then to your point that you brought up earlier, when you ask on that other podcast, when you ask people what kind of feedback they want, I want direct. I want straight up. Straight up, no chaser. You got no ice, nothing. Just give it to me. You know what I mean? Because we want to sound tough. We want to sound like we could take it. I could take that feedback. What do you got? Lay it on me, and I’ll just force myself to get better. Whatever it is that you say, and that’s unrealistic and the wrong way to approach it. But yeah, great topic. I think maybe we’ll return to this.
Yeah, we will. There’s still some more to unpack.
At some point. It’s funny because I’m just going to have to take an L here because I, I’m in this article here, and I totally forgot what the word of the day was as a result of looking through this.
I got you off the show notes.
So I’m just like, I’m not on the show notes. I don’t know what the word is. Oh, man. Man, that’s right. What was it? Do you remember? What’s the word? Rarefied. Oh, that would’ve been easy, man. That would’ve been an easy busted out at, were in rarefied air. Yes. I mean, there’s so many easy ways to incorporate that. Ah, shoot. Oh, well, I’ll take an Ll. That’s a win for you, Jason. Yeah. All right. Well, Jason, tell us about the word of the day next week. Hopefully I won’t disappoint our listeners again.
All right. I feel like this one oughta be like a layup. All right. Cordial.
Oh, okay. All right. If I miss that, I’m, I’m firing myself. Just from the podcast, not this job. Okay. The podcast is over. Then the podcast is over, everybody. If I miss cordial next week, that’s a lot of pressure. Well, thank you everybody for listening and kind of tuning in around this idea of feedback and the feedback fallacy. Thanks for listening to Episode 16 of How People Work.