Another dot in the blogosphere?

On feedback: Honey and blindspots

Posted on: June 17, 2021

Photo by Pixabay on

There is a saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It means that it is easier to get what you want if you are nice instead of nasty.

The problem with using honey is that a) it is a waste of honey, b) you end up with a sticky mess, and c) you get more than just flies. 

How is this like providing feedback that only sounds sweet? It can sometimes be a waste of everyone’s time if the constructive message is neither sent nor received. If you sound so positive, nothing seems wrong so there is nothing to work on.

You end up with a larger mess than you started with because the feedback on a document or project does not get acted on. Worse still, it could breed indifference or overconfidence in the one receiving feedback.

All this is not to say that being absolutely nasty or brutal is a better method. The receiver is just as likely to shut down upon reading or hearing the first negative word.

Photo by Noelle Otto on

So what might we do? I say we start with a preemptive discussion on blindspots. All of us have them, i.e., we have our own perspectives and biases. These make us unable to see some other way unless someone helps us with a different view.

When driving in a car, checking blindspots regularly and taking action quickly are important. In terms of feedback, dealing with blindspots needs to be clear and direct. If not, an accident could happen.

Of course there is a chance that an accident will not happen if you do not check your blindspots. Likewise, there is a chance that things will go swimmingly if you do not point out flaws in a plan. But are you willing to take that chance?

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