As with any other process we label as ‘effective communication’, your ease and ability to provide worthwhile, confident feedback to another person will need practice.
Being able to provide effective feedback is vital for any leader and manager. It enables a workforce to perform more efficiently. This is a necessary skill set for high-quality communication.
Feedback should be based on facts!
Feedback should be helpful and constructive and based on facts, rather than opinions.
Give feedback based on what you or some other reliable source actually saw or heard them do.
Then, go on to be clear and specific about the praise coming their way or any changes needed for next time.
Don’t ‘beat around the bush’.
There can be a tendency with the more difficult types of feedback to ‘beat around the bush’. Attempts to ‘soften the blow’.
The problem with this is your message can become confused. It becomes so ‘woolly’ that any specific points become lost.
Guard against being too nice for your own good. Get the message clear in your mind. Then deliver it in a concise way with confidence.
The Feedback Burger; Positive. Negative. Positive.
The concept of the ‘Feedback Burger’ is easy to remember and practical to put in place.
Imagine it like this. Think of a quarter pound burger between the two halves of a bread bun.
The top half of the bread symbolises the ‘positive’ comments to begin the feedback. The meaty burger is the ‘negative’ input required from you.
This should be immediately followed by ‘positive’ comments to end.
Avoid being perceived as critical.
Be aware that it can be very easy to overload someone with information during feedback.
Also, if the person receiving the feedback perceive you as being critical, then that will impact on the quality of their listening. The likelihood of them ignoring you becomes higher.
To combat this, try commenting on 3-things you’ve observed them doing well. Follow this with only ONE suggestion for improvement. This helps prevent the potential for overload.
Saying ‘well done’ is simple.
An effective model for providing worthwhile feedback is to say “well done”.
Move on to provide an example of what they’ve done well and how. Before moving onto adding “next time try…”. It’s here that you should offer appropriate suggestions for improvement.
It is that simple. And it works.
Be prepared to listen.
When you give feedback to others, remember that it’s very possible they may return the favour.
Your comments about them and their performance may prompt them to come back with something about you and yours!
If this happens, do not become immediately defensive.
Instead, listen to understand what’s they say and the reasons behind it.
These thoughts on Effective Feedback are offered in no particular order of importance. The ability to provide effective feedback is one of the most challenging skills with which to become comfortable.
Apply these thoughts when talking one-on-one with an individual in order that you give constructive, clear and Effective Feedback.