Delivering and Receiving Feedback is a skill. How good are you at both?
If I said to most people, “can I give you some feedback”, sadly most people will automatically think they are about to be told off.
That might be because that is what they are used to, there is no trust with their manager or team or they have had bad prior experiences. However, the real person missing out here is yourself if you are not in a position where either 1) people are providing you with useful feedback or 2) you are not asking for feedback from others.
So…how do you change this? Below are 7 tips to help!
1. Change your perception of feedback
To start with you need to change the perception of feedback in your head to a different image. Rather, immediately thinking that you are in trouble, replace the image with not giving someone feedback as being similar to letting them walk with toilet paper on their shoe.
That is, seeing that someone could use your help or is doing something they don’t know about which is not going to end in a great result for them.
2. Make it regular
One-off feedback either positive or negative will normally be met with questions.
Building your organisation’s feedback muscle where both positive and negative feedback is provided regularly, will help build team members’ trust in this process.
Building feedback about your day-to-day meetings with employees (and asking for feedback) is a great way to develop relationships and to encourage people to feel more comfortable and ask for it more proactively. The question is, are you equipped with the right tools and skills in delivering effective feedback to your employees?
3. Give feedback properly
There are a number of different feedback models however as a high-level guide, the benefit is in the detail for both POSITIVE and Constructive Feedback.
“Great job” is nice but not overly useful.
We like to use the SBI Mode generally – Situation (when and where), Behaviour (observation of the employee’s behaviour), and Impact (impact on you and others).
Sometimes, we see people use this for negative or constructive feedback but rarely do we see this used for the positive feedback.
- Hey Susie, can I provide some feedback on how you went to the conference yesterday?
- Firstly, how do you think you went? (this will help ascertain whether the team member is aware of what they did well or what they did not do as well)
- Yesterday at the annual team summit (Situation – when and where)
- I love how you got to the conference centre early, set the room up in a u-shape, tested the technology so everything was working, and had the senior team high fiving team when they walked in the room. I particularly loved the fact that you kept everyone to the agenda and on time and your 2-page summary you created with the dashboard on the front on how the team is performing (Behaviour).
- This built great connectivity and gave a great insight into how the organisation is performing and clear focus areas that we need to look at. I would love to set this up as the new template base for future summits (Impact).
The above is so much more useful for the individual than ‘Great job’ as it clearly provides the details on what they did well and what you would love to see again.
Nail positive feedback properly and it will reduce the need to provide constructive feedback.
4. Practice makes better
Like everything else, practice can always improve how you give feedback. I don’t say makes perfect here as I believe we are always learning on how to build this muscle.
5. Ask for feedback
How you are tracking in an organisation should not be a surprise. Don’t wait for an issue to turn into a performance issue.
Get on to development areas early and ask for feedback around key activities you do.
Not after every task but after a big project, event, or 90 day period for example.
If you are getting ‘crickets’ or feedback that is not useful, ask better questions or provide options ie do you think it would be more beneficial for me to focus on A or B? Or Did you prefer how I presented management report A or B?
Another good question we like to ask is “what do you believe would be the most useful next professional development area I focus on that would add the most benefit”?
6. Be easy to give feedback to
Lose the defensiveness. I know this can be hard for some people but you DO NOT want to be one of those team members who CANNOT take feedback.
Of course, anyone who is passionate about what they do can take feedback personally but when you become aggressive or defensive, you can guarantee that people will avoid providing it to you.
Remember, it is far better to get people speaking directly to you than it is having people say things behind your back.
Listen openly with the intent to understand (not just to reply) and as difficult as it can be, try and make the person providing feedback feel comfortable. Remember, it is actually for your benefit.
Assume good intentions – even if you do not necessarily agree – it is true from that person’s perspective and therefore an opportunity to see yourself from another person’s lens.
7. Always say thank you
Whether you agree or not or whether it is positive or constructive, that person has gone out of their way to provide it.
Thanking people for feedback and making the process a positive experience will encourage people to continue to provide feedback which is always in your best interest.
So good luck on your feedback journey. I promise if you can nail this as an organisation and truly establish a feedback culture, the benefits for everyone involved will be significant.