Thank You for Your Feedback

Listen 49:09
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From Amazon to Angie’s List, Google, Facebook, and Yelp, we live in a world driven by feedback. In the best of circumstances, honest critiques can make us better — they can give us new perspectives, improve our work, or just offer some encouragement to keep us going. But feedback is a double-edged sword — it can be both kind and cruel, honest and petty, insightful and downright useless. So how do we navigate this world of reviews and commentary?

How do we know who to listen to? When is feedback helpful, and when does it hurt? And how do we give it in a way that’s both honest and kind?

On this episode, we explore those questions and more. We hear from physicians about the online reviews they receive, the problems with the peer review process, and why it’s time to retire the compliment sandwich. We also step inside a program that’s been built around student feedback — MFA writing programs — and find out what it looks like to try and objectively judge creative work.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • You can find online reviews for just about everything these days — even physicians. But how accurate are those reviews? And do doctors take them to heart? Physician Neda Frayha talks with her fellow docs about how they feel about patient reviews. Frayha is a primary care physician in Maryland, and host of the Primary Care Reviews and Perspectives podcast for Hippo Education.
  • We talk with researcher and author Marcus Buckingham about reviews of all kinds — when they help, when they hurt, and why employee performance reviews are “worse than useless.” Buckingham is the co-author of “Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World.”
  • Before scientific studies get published in respectable journals, they’re supposed to go through a process called peer review — a kind of editing process performed by other scientists. But in the age of COVID-19, that important step has increasingly been pushed back in order to get new data out quicker. We talk with Mark Humphries, a neuroscientist at the University of Nottingham, about the limitations of the peer review process, and what he thinks needs to change.
  • To be helpful, feedback must be honest — but sometimes honesty can be painful. So how do you offer the unvarnished truth without alienating the other person? We put that question to researcher Taya Cohen, who studies radical honesty. She tells us how three days of honesty affected people’s relationships, what’s wrong with the “compliment sandwich,” and how to give feedback that’s actually helpful. Cohen is a professor of organizational behavior and business ethics at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Friends can be one of our best resources for honest feedback — if we’re willing to hear it. Psychologist Tasha Eurich makes a case for the “dinner of truth,” and what it taught her about not being annoying. Eurich is the author of “Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think.”

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