Feedback is essential for your AmeriCorps member’s growth… and it can be very hard to receive, especially if you do not have a strong foundation of trust and open communication.

We use a mental model called the Johari Window to understand how people experience feedback.

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Why is Giving and Receiving Feedback so Difficult?

Feedback can uncover blind spots in our sense of self. There are parts of our personality that are visible to the people around us that we are not aware of.

Receiving feedback about these unseen personality traits or behaviors can be very jarring.

This is called a “Blind Spot” in the Johari Window model developed in 1955 by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. The blind spot in a car can be used as a metaphor to understand how the blind spots in our self image can feel dangerous or disconcerting when we suddenly discover them through feedback.

Every AmeriCorps member comes into their role with their own history of feedback. Some members may have been sheltered from evaluative feedback by overprotective parents while others may have learned to tough it out and hide any challenges that they facing that affect their performance.

It may be helpful to speak to your member about past jobs and school experiences and ask when they have received feedback in the past that was helpful.

How did they process the feedback?

What made it useful?

If you’re reading this before December 6, 2023, please consider joining us for The Essentials of Feedback and Coaching live virtual workshop.

The essentials of feedback and coaching on December 6th