Providing Feedback The Right Way
What is Effective Feedback?
Effective feedback is defined as clear, understandable, and acceptable. These are the areas where you have control. It is up to the recipient to decide whether to act on your feedback. Let’s not forget that.
If done correctly and with the right intentions feedback can result in outstanding performance. Employees need to be able to identify what is working well and what is not. To be able to hear your suggestions and feedback on ways to improve, they must receive it carefully and often.
When you have to provide feedback:
1. Be specific
Use precise language to explain both the positive aspects of work and areas where there is room for improvement when giving feedback. When you praise an employee, be sure to tell them what they did well. You could say, for example, that you were clear and engaging in explaining your customer service. The client was clearly interested in the subject matter. “Last week, you submitted two late assignments. I would like to talk with you about how to arrange your day so that you achieve the most from what you have.
2. One-on-one feedback
Giving praise or criticism is better done one-on-1 than in a group setting. Some employees enjoy being praised in front of their coworkers. Others may be embarrassed or uncomfortable if the praise isn’t directed at them. Some people may need to take time to digest a criticism. You should choose a time that allows you to focus on the receiver one-on-one and take into consideration their needs.
3. Create goals that reflect your feedback
Discuss work performance and set goals to help you both determine if your expectations have been met. You can give clear directions and actionable items for the future. Set a realistic time frame to accomplish these steps and a time for you to revisit them in the future.
4. Both positive and negative feedback should be shared
Positive feedback is often better than negative. It builds trust and shows that you value the job well done. It can be motivating to tell employees when they have done well.
5. Your feedback can be used to mentor
Effective feedback at work can show employees that you value their contribution and are interested in seeing them succeed. You can mentor them in both praise and criticism, regardless of their position within the company. Feedback sessions can be used by managers and team leaders to give new responsibilities to employees.
6. Don’t limit your feedback to milestones.
All parties benefit from receiving frequent and relevant feedback. It is important to create an environment where everyone can have a conversation and that feedback is encouraged and received on a regular basis. This helps reduce tensions that may build up when feedback is only provided once a quarter, or during annual reviews.
Regular feedback can help you identify and fix problems sooner, which will improve the work environment. A continuous dialogue with your employees is one of the best ways to give feedback. It helps you set realistic expectations and allows you to work towards your goals.
7. Practice active listening
Listen to your employee and adjust your conversation accordingly. While addressing the main topic of the meeting, pay attention to the needs of the recipients. If possible, work together to plan actions. Let the feedback receiver offer their ideas and solutions.
8. Let emotions go
You can be objective and not get emotional about your coworker. You might wait 24 hours before discussing the matter. This will ensure that the facts are not changed but does not cause tempers to flare.
9. When appropriate, give group feedback
If you give feedback to a group, even if it is a criticism of a member of the team, you can do so to all members at once. Give feedback on how the team’s efforts are impacting the work. Let the team take control by creating a task group or project group to brainstorm ideas and steps. After the group feedback session, you can meet with each member of your team to discuss specific performance. This is based on their role in the project.
10. To back up your ideas, use performance data
Because data focuses on information about a behavior or incident, rather than feelings, it is a better source for criticism or praise. Data can be used to help guide discussions and create clear goals that can easily be measured in the future. This could include client feedback, performance data, or work samples.
11. Ask questions
Let the recipient speak as much of your performance discussion as possible. Asking questions gives employees and coworkers the opportunity to have their say in feedback. Ask open-ended questions to get the receiver talking.
12. Review Progress
It is important to review goals regularly after taking specific actions. It is important to set aside the time to review progress and create new goals as necessary, even when life gets hectic. This is why feedback is so important in the workplace. When follow-through and expectations are met, both parties will be more invested in the outcome.
13. Performance not Personality
It is important to focus on performance when giving constructive feedback. It is better to leave personality traits out of the discussion. This creates a professional working relationship that encourages positive change and provides a safe space for constructive criticism.
Effectively receiving feedback
- Pay attention to the feedback. Don’t interrupt. Listen to the person and not just what you think they will say. Listening and understanding is more effective than reacting defensively.
- Pay attention to your reactions. Your body language and voice speak louder than your words. Avoid putting up barriers. You can also send a negative message if you appear distracted or bored. Attention, on the contrary, shows that you value what others have to say and makes you feel at ease.
- Be open. Openness means being open to new ideas and other opinions. There may be more than one way to do something, and other people might have a different view. You might learn something valuable.
- Comprehend the message. Before you respond to feedback, make sure you fully understand the message. If you need clarification, ask questions. To ensure you understand the feedback accurately, listen actively and repeat key points. Ask for feedback from others before you respond. Also, it is a good idea to be clear about what feedback you want before you respond so that you don’t get taken by surprise.
- Think about what you want to do and reflect on it. Consider the impact of the feedback and the implications of using or not using it. Then, reflect on the situation and decide what you will do. You can choose to respond. You can always ask for another opinion if you are not satisfied with the feedback.
- Follow up. Follow up. There are many options for following up on feedback. Sometimes your follow-up is as simple as implementing the suggestions. You might also want to schedule another meeting to discuss feedback and resubmit your revised work.
Feedback is non-judgmental, specific information that compares performance to a standard with the intention of improving performance. Talk to one of our consultants for more information.