Teamwork is Humbling: Give Gracious Feedback

Posted by Kristin Arnold on September 12, 2007

As an “expert” on teamwork in the workplace, I try to practice what I preach. I don’t want to be known as the cobbler who has no shoes. So, I intentionally (and…maybe it’s an ironic twist of fate) put myself in situations where I must work and play well with others. In these situations it often occurs to me how humbling this fragile notion of “teamwork” truly is.

You see, teams are great for conceptualizing, designing, coordinating, planning, and evaluating.  However, the tough part is, someone at some point has to put the pen to paper, assemble the product, and actually deliver the service. That is done by individuals, usually in a draft form or prototype first, and then it is presented to the team who graciously bleeds red ink all over it.

It’s tough to be the drafter, the owner of the prototype and watch the team make small or significant upgrades. It’s truly humbling to understand that your baby is ugly, and that although you tried your best, the team is going to improve upon your initial draft or “strawman.”

Whenever I practice what I preach and work with teams, I have to remind myself that someone is responsible for taking the first stab at the team’s deliverable. My suggestion for leaders and team members this week, is to be gracious in giving and receiving the feedback. This will aid in taking the draft to the next level, and it encourages your team members to continue to produce great work and share it with you.

Share your thoughts:

  • How do you react when the team gives you feedback on your draft?
  • What are some ways that you can give more gracious feedback to your team members?

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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