Making Your Small Group Work Tip 7

Tip 7: Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving feedback is noticing and expressing what you think, feel, or perceive about someone for their benefit and awareness. It may be positives or negatives.

Biblical references:
• Proverbs 27:5—“Better is open rebuke than hidden love”
• Ecclesiastes 7:5—“It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than listen to the song of fools”
• Colossians 3:16—“. . . teach and admonish one another . . .”

Why it’s important:
• Feedback acts as a mirror—we need others to help us see ourselves
and our lives accurately
• We all have blind spots, and feedback helps us to discover them

Giving feedback:
• Be attentive and observe each other—notice feelings, behaviors, choices, and values
• Form an understanding of what you see
• Tell the person what you see/notice and affirm them as you do so
• Tell the person why you think it’s important to mention what you see
– Have an attitude of being “for” the person
– Use “I” statements, not “you” statements (“I see,” “I notice,” “I feel,” “I understand,” rather than “You are,” “You always,” etc.)
• Give the person your thoughts/opinions

Receiving feedback:
• Take it in—receive it
• Sit with it
• Have an attitude that it is for you, not against you
• Ask clarifying questions (i.e., “When did you see me do this?”)
• Acknowledge that you are appreciative: “thanks for telling me about that”
• Notice whether you have a tendency to be defensive or devalue the feedback
• Express emotions appropriately; avoid the following:
– Anger
– Defensiveness
– Hostility
– Stonewalling
• Don’t “fake” it; instead, say something like, “This is hard to hear . . . I need to know you still accept and care for me after what you’ve said, etc.”

Share Your Thoughts

Has your group struggled in this area? Share your stories and tips with fellow small group leaders in the comments section below.

Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California.

Follow Dr. Henry Cloud on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He is coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries and author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love.

Follow John Townsend on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

Bill Donahue

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.

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