Tell Me How I'm Doing - A book review

Do you think feedback is essential? Is it going to affect our performance if we do not receive any feedback from time to time from our boss or colleagues? Tell Me How I'm Doing is the book that has all the answers. This article reviews the book and I am sure you will learn various tips on delivering feedback after reading it.

About The Book

There is a clear indication in the name of the book that somebody wants to know how she/he is doing. This somebody is actually not a particular person; we all have to know how we are performing the tasks. We all are busy in our activities and managing lots of responsibilities, but is it really necessary to know how we are doing a particular task?
Book cover
During our student days, teachers and parents used to tell us how we are faring in the studies and what are the areas we need to focus on for further improvement. There was feedback from their end and it indeed helped us. Yes, feedback is essential for all of us and this book is entirely focused on the importance of feedback and ways to deliver feedback to others.

About The Author

Dr Richard L Williams is from Sandy, Utah and specialized in developing leadership capabilities to maximise the performance of people. He is a well-recognised consultant providing performance coaching and helps companies to improve quality and process. There are more than 6000 workshops to his credit that he conducted throughout the world and around 250,000 executives from various industries were benefited from them.

Who Should Read This Book

You may think that this book is only for professionals or you may say that feedback is required only by the professionals to improve their performance. But this misconception, if you have, will go away after reading the book because even to keep the performance at the same level we require feedback. The feedback is not only necessary in the office but also essential at home too. The relationship with your spouse and children is very much dependent on the type of feedback you use for them and hence this book is good to read if you are interested to know the tricks. Many of us do not know how to deliver feedback so rather than confining this book to a particular segment of professionals, I would say this book is for everybody.

The Plot

This book is a fable that has quite a few characters working in an organization and the coach who is providing the training to a team of managers about the necessity of feedback to improve performance of the employees. Scott, a manager in that organization is the protagonist throughout the book containing nine chapters and you will find it very interesting to read since you will never find a list of instructions to follow in this book. The training session started with a goal which was to experience how a person feels when denied any kind of feedback. Scott, who didn't realize the plan, was chosen as that person and for more than an hour, he was ignored by all his colleagues in the meeting. All the instructions of the coach are provided through interactions with the managers in the session and when instructions are provided in this form it has a greater impact on the readers. You will find e-mail communication between the coach and Scott where Scott was asking for some clarifications or describing his problems in details to the coach. The free-flowing conversation in a simple language between the coach and the characters will keep you engaged throughout the end.

The Importance Of Feedback

For our survival food and water is essential. So is the feedback. When we started doing different things since our childhood we did not know which are essential and required from us. We also did not have the idea about things or behaviour which is not acceptable. Somebody must have told us and made us realize that when we smile in a particular way it creates a great impact. I am sure there are many people who told you how melodious is the ringtone or the caller tune of your mobile number and for that reason, you are still using it. When somebody says how nicely we have done certain things we repeat that, again and again, thinking it has a good impact on others. If nobody says anything about any of our acts how do we feel? Exactly, that's what Scott felt at the beginning of the training session and realized the importance of feedback later on.

How To Deliver Feedback

In the book, the coach (author) talks about the feedback bucket we all have inside our heart and the four types of feedback – 1) Supportive, 2) Corrective, 3) Abusive and 4) Insignificant. If somebody says "Well done" or "Great" do you think it is supportive feedback? Actually, these one or two-worded comments are not sufficient enough to constitute as feedback, though those words always act as encouragement. You need to elaborate your comments while delivering feedback through different steps. While it is very harmful to provide any kind of abusive feedback, insignificant feedback receives very little response. We must concentrate mostly on supportive feedback and also deliver corrective feedback when the need arises. Interestingly, the process of delivering the correct feedback is the same whether you are using it at your workplace, home or at any other place and by following the steps mentioned in the book a great deal of improvement will be noticed on the persons whose feedback bucket you fill up constantly.

Article by Sankalan Bhattacharya
Sankalan "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

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