Helping a colleague, employee or manager strengthen or develop their skills, mindset or experience with constructive comments: that’s what feedback is really about. The aim of feedback isn’t to provide a performance review or an annual appraisal.
It’s a communication process that encourages cooperation and the resolution of conflict. The aim is to be clear and coherent, whilst being open and comprehensive at the same time.
Marshall Bertram Rosenberg
Time needed: 30 minutes
- An appropriate space where everyone feels comfortable
- A suitable moment during which you are composed and attentive
Feedback is not a way of justifying your actions, covering yourself or scoring points, nor is it a way of publicly praising or reprimanding someone!
When giving feedback, always keep in mind that the aim is to help the other person grow and improve.
- Before anything else, clarify the aim of your feedback and make sure that you know the specific matter you want to address. Think about what tensions may arise in advance, so that you can handle them calmly on the day.
- Prepare for the interaction by prioritising 4 or 6 key points in your mind. This way, you’ll be able to properly construct your feedback, be as explicit as possible, and go in with the right mindset.
Below are the key elements you should include in your feedback:
- Provide the context
- Describe the facts in concrete terms, with no judgement
- Describe the effects (on you, others, work, etc.)
- Identify the skills (expertise), motivation and frame of mind (social skills) that were implemented or what was missing
You could also then go even further (feedforward) with the following:
- Look for the solutions that could be implemented
- Suggest other approaches/methods that could be used next time
- And that’s it, you’re ready to go!
- Once you have shared your feedback, open up the conversation with the person receiving it so that you can hear their opinions and suggestions. Finish on a positive note and schedule in another meeting to explore the matter further if you feel it’s necessary.
- Prioritise spoken feedback over written feedback. It’s important you feel connected to the person you’re communicating with as this means you’ll understand each other better. You could then put it into writing afterwards.
- If you don’t feel completely comfortable with the process and/or the feedback you need to give is difficult, ask somebody to help you prepare or even to be present as a neutral party during the feedback session (with the agreement of the other person).
- Feedback can of course be positive, the aim being to further the other persons’ learning and reinforce their actions.
- Don’t expect to give perfect feedback straight away. Be kind both to yourself and to the person in front of you.
- PPP - Practice, Practice, Practice: make giving feedback part of your normal routine, it’s the best way of improving!
- And remember, it’s important to work on your ability to receive feedback, as well as give it.