Giving Effective Feedback
Feedback is an effective way of communicating with employees, colleagues or members of your team. When giving feedback it can be both positive and constructive (rather than negative).
When you are providing feedback it’s important to use a balance of both positive and constructive feedback. If you always deliver constructive feedback, the receiver may feel they only receive one type of feedback and become resistant or less receptive.
Avoid making a habit of giving both types of feedback at the same time – giving with one hand and taking away with the other. While it may be helpful to highlight positive performance as well as areas for improvement in the same conversation, make the time to give positive feedback for a job well done. This helps to build trust and make the person more receptive when you need to give constructive feedback.
Build an environment in which feedback is appreciated and welcomed. If people aren’t used to receiving feedback or are more used to being criticised than praised, this may take time to create.
How to give effective feedback
Be timely. Don’t leave it too long after the event to provide feedback. Give feedback as soon as possible otherwise the effectiveness of the feedback will be lost.
Be aware of your body language, tone and words you use when giving feedback. Avoid the use confrontational or inflammatory words or tone, especially if emotions are involved. Be direct, open and honest.
Consider their frame of reference – it may be different from yours, which will affect how they receive the feedback or message you give. What are their values, attitudes and experiences?
Plan your feedback
What is the reason for giving feedback – a job well done, an opportunity for improvement, a lesson to be learned?
When and where will you give it? It may take only a few seconds or a few minutes but the time and place needs to be appropriate. A brief thank you or a planned meeting.
Four steps to follow when giving feedback
Be specific. Describe the specific situation with facts about the action or events and any behaviours you observed. What specifically was said or done? Avoid making assumptions or acting on hearsay.
Your thoughts. What impact has the action or event had on other people or the business? What are your thoughts, opinions or conclusions as a result of this? They are your thoughts so state this – “I think that …”. Link what you observed to what you thought.
Your feelings. How do you feel about this situation (NOT about the individual) – frustrated, disappointed, pleased? Use the phrase “I feel…” rather than “You made me feel …” Only you are responsible for your own feelings.
The outcome. What is the result or outcome you want as a result of giving feedback? What do you want them to change, improve, stop or continue? Be clear about what you want so they understand and know what they need to change or keep doing.
Once you have provided the feedback, allow them to respond. Have they understood what you have said? Ask them to clarify. Listen actively to what they say, the words and tone they use.
Constructive feedback is often more difficult to give than positive feedback but both forms can be used effectively to clarify expectations, to manage performance and get the best from your colleagues or team.
If you need additional information on providing feedback, active listening or you want to discuss a specific situation you’re facing – Get In Touch.