Feedback is an effective way of communicating with employees, colleagues or members of your team. Feedback can be both positive and constructive (rather than negative).
When giving feedback it is important to have a balance of positive and constructive feedback otherwise the receiver may feel that they only ever receive one type of feedback. It is also important not to always link the two, especially in the same conversation – giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
Build an environment in which feedback is welcomed. This may take time if it’s not something that has been practised before. Try to give positive feedback whenever you can – this will help to build trust and make the person more comfortable when you need to give constructive feedback.
Giving good/effective feedback:
Be timely. Don’t leave it too long after the event to provide any form of feedback. Give feedback as soon as possible, otherwise the effectiveness of the communication will be lost.
Be aware of your body language, tone and the words that you use when giving feedback. Don’t use confrontational words or tone even if it’s likely to be a tough conversation. Be direct, open and honest.
Consider their frame of reference – it may be different from yours, which will affect the message that they receive. What are their values, attitudes and experiences?
Here are four steps to follow when giving feedback:
Be specific. What are the facts as you see them? Describe the specific situation with facts, events and behaviours that you observed. What specifically was said or done?
Your thoughts. What impact has the action had on other people, the business or you generally? What are your thoughts, opinions or conclusions as a result of the action? Remember 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 – “I feel…” not “you made me feel …”
The outcome. What is the result or outcome you want from this? What do you want to change, improve, stop or continue? Be clear about what you want so they can understand and know what they need to do to change or keep doing.
Once you have given feedback, allow them to respond. Have they understood what you have said? Learn to listen actively to what they say. [Contact me if you need information on Active Listening Skills].
Constructive feedback is more difficult to give than positive feedback but both forms need to be effective. Plan your feedback. Why are you giving feedback, when and where will you give it. It may take only need a few seconds or a few minutes.
Maintain a balance when you give feedback. Make sure that you let people know what they doing well and where they can make improvements.
If you would like additional information on providing feedback, active listening or how to deal with difficult situations please contact me to arrange a specific session to discuss this in more detail.
Copyright 2005: Clare Evans
Clare Evans works with busy, stressed individuals and small business owners to help them plan and organise their time more effectively. Contact her now for more details and a free consultation. http://www.clareevans.co.uk