Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Gap Map - Thanks for the Feedback

While doing my weekly reading today - the chapter was focused around 'The Gap Map'. This explains the gap between the way someone means to be seen and the way they are actually seen. Using the Gap Map, it allows us to see where our blind spots are.

We all have blindspots because we can't see our own faces and reactions, we can't hear our own tone of voice (Mehrabian, Non-Verbal Communication) and we are generally unaware of big patterns of behaviour.

Often when we get feedback we may focus on changing our behaviour (arrow 3), but our thoughts and feelings (arrow 1) remain unchanged. Thoughts and feelings are embedded in expectations and assumptions that have accrued over the years. This is a problem.

This, I believe, is where 'a team' would fail to meet the expectation of the 'a leader' and so if a leader does not act on feedback at the thoughts and feelings stage, those thoughts and feelings still leak through facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. These behaviours are still visible to the team.

There becomes a point where if the team sees a behaviour enough, it is amplified as a characteristic trait (rather than situational). It draws into the third arrow where the team will focus on how it impacts on them and the leader is still focused on their intentions. The team don't recognise the good intensions.

The only way to see these blindspots is to ask for feedback and if you find yourself questioning the feedback, you need to question 'Is this feedback actually sitting in my blindspot?' 

The type of feedback you need to receive is honest (rather than supportive) and specific:
  • What do you see me doing, or failing to do, that is getting in my own way?
Respond with genuine curiosity and appreciation and you will be able to draw more out - especially if they have started timidly.


  1. Fascinating stuff Alice. I'll be interested in talking to you about this further and how this new knowledge is impacting on your work.

    1. Thanks for you comment Ben - I was actually thinking about this during our teaching meeting today when we were talking about the principle of 'Respect' - as we begin to place our practices into our BBP I think it's important as leaders of learning, that our learners "feel" our thoughts and feelings by noticing the good characteristics (rather than bad) - leading to trusting, Learning Focused Relationships that enhance learning.