Sunday philosophy ka quota!

When people ask me for a feedback on the work that they have done I am usually in a quandary.

First of all if i have no end usage of that product, or that person is not in a reporting relationship I NEED NOT GIVE a feedback at all. However, they do want a feed back and that is why they are asking me – so I am kind of obliged to give them a feed back.

I could either give them an immediate feedback – retaining the spontaneity or give a nice measured feedback. Both have their own place in life and the person asking may not know what feedback they want. In most cases I am at a loss to know what that person wants….so i guess is the feeling is mutual.

Over long periods of time I find that most people DO NOT WANT TO HEAR the truth especially if it is harsh. Confirmatory bias is seen and felt..and most people want to hear ‘Oh! it is great’. Rarely do I do this. Appreciating a job well done is different from giving a feedback which has no suggestion.

In most cases my feed back would be a ‘formative’ kind of feedback…that is there is some change in the person’s behaviour that I expect because of the feedback.

Why am I giving so much of a background? well to tell you that it is easy to criticize but difficult to say IN ADVANCE how it should have been done or ACTUALLY correct the final product. So if I could NOT have told the kid how to do in ADVANCE (she is giving me a feed back – ‘you did not tell me how to do’) or I do not know how to correct it (how can i tell her how to correct, if I cannot correct it myself?) ….so read this story (caveat – it is an old story, I have done a cut n paste – only thing is I think i have put it in context) :

Long ago there was a painter who completed his training under disciple hood of a great painter. This young artist decided to assess his skills. He decided to give his best strokes on the canvass. He took a few days and painted beautiful scenery.
He wanted people’s view about his ability and painting skills.

He put his painting at a street-crossing. And just down below he put a board which read-“Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I’m new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake.”

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting.

Disheartened he ran to his master’s place and burst into tears. Sobbing and crying he told his master about what happened and showed the pathetic state of his creation which was filled with crosses and correction remarks.

This young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying “I’m useless and if this is what I have learnt to paint I’m not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely.”

Master smiled and suggested “My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt a flawless painting.” Young disciple couldn’t believe it and said “I have lost faith in me and I don’t think I am good enough. Don’t make false hopes..

“Do as I say without questioning it. It WILL work.” Master interrupted him.

Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master.

“Come with me.” master said.

They reached the same street-square early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read -“Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I’m new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it.” Master and disciple walked back home.

They both visited the place same evening. Young painter was surprised to see that actually there was not a single correction done so far. Next day again they visited and found painting remained untouched. They say the painting was kept there for a month for no correction came in!

If you want to help people improve their behavior it is worth investing your effort in learning how to help people change their behaviors, attitudes and skills. Also, always remember not to get carried away or judge yourself by someone else’s criticism and feel depressed. Take criticism in your stride; consider that which are genuine and implement those which you think is the best to improve you as a person!!

Related Articles:

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

  1. Subra,
    Very profound and very true. Having a good mentor is as important as being a competent person.
    The matter on the feedback very appropraite and true.

  2. Hi Subra,

    Constructive feedback is required very much time to time. In organizations supervisor wait till that time of the year when performance reviews are done. By that time the reportee may have committed many mistakes which could have been appointed by providing immediate feedback.

    On the other hand we should talk about positive things once has done and the improvements (negative feedback).



  3. Hi Atul,
    I think performance-review is just an eyewash. If you would have committed a mistake which would have impacted team’s/company’s performance then everybody would have pointed out your mistakes.

    If you have not finger-pointed by anybody in whole year then listing of your errors at performance-review is just to convince you about the small/no raise.

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Formative feedback! --

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>