Feedback Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

An expert on stress and performance, Modupe Akinola discusses how new techniques emerging in the field could reduce unnecessary stress in the office.

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If we understand how our minds work we should be able to better understand how to adapt and adjust in complex environments where we are forced to make quick decisions, where we are forced to drink through a fire hose and do things really effectively, and really efficiently.

I think one of the contexts in which people have a lot of trouble is giving and receiving feedback. We know that giving and receiving feedback is critical for somebody doing well in an organization.

So, what if people could understand how they experience different feedback sessions? Put them in a situation where they are giving feedback. Show them how they did, show them how their body was responding, and then give them the opportunity to do it again having learned all of these things. Giving them tools and techniques to say, “you know what, actually, this time in the interaction, say it this way. Do it this way,” different types of behavioral interventions, as well as psychological interventions, that we can use to make people experience interactions as being a lot less stressful than they already are.

About the researcher

Modupe Akinola

Modupe Akinola is an Associate Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Professor Akinola worked in...

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