Meaningful information about how people perform and behave, the strengths they demonstrate, and the opportunities they have to improve … it’s the currency of development.
- The boss who points out how effectively you dealt with a demanding project
- The colleague who debriefs after a call with a challenging client about how to be more successful in the future
- The employee who lets you know how you can better support her efforts
It’s all information that can be mined and used by those who are hungry for feedback. But, what used to be a strictly human act is increasingly being delegated (or is it relegated?) to technology.
Technology: Tool or Trap?
Technology-enabled solutions allow us to accomplish a tremendous amount of work remotely, individually, and without ever having to actually talk with other people. For some tasks, it’s a great tool. For others, it can become a total trap.
Each day there are new developments and ways to automate nearly everything… including feedback. Online survey tools allow you to gather the perspectives of more people in less time while offering anonymity (which some believe drives greater candor).
Then there are tools like Rypple, which offer online interactions designed to ‘amplify what great business leaders have always done’, like coaching recognition and providing ongoing feedback. The potential is exciting. The ability to scale this critical leadership function to allow full teams to interact transparently and collaboratively supporting, directing, coaching, and providing feedback to each other online is nothing short of mouth-watering.
But (at the risk of sounding like a Luddite) are we using technology as a crutch? Let’s face it… gathering feedback is challenging. Looking someone in the eye as they share their perspective about your strengths and weaknesses can be unnerving. Is the solution to handle it electronically? Or, might the solution be to take a deep breath and engage in a human dialogue.
What do you think? (I can handle the feedback.)