Effective Feedback

3 of the Most Effective Ways to Provide Feedback

Feedback Choices on Blackboard
Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

~ Ken Blanchard ~

I’ve come across many star employees, even those with top executive leadership skills who find the area of performance reviews a mundane, tiresome task. It doesn’t matter if they themselves are being reviewed or if they are the reviewers; some people just shun the idea of giving and receiving feedback.

Why? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to face a difficult, uneasy situation if it may arise. Some feel they might be humiliating their colleagues or there are those who don’t want to voice their opinion because they fear being disliked. Then there is the defensive type. These people find it hard to take criticism. Others can’t give effective feedback because they don’t want to hurt their co-workers’ feelings.

Whatever the reason, one important point to keep in mind is that there is no such thing as positive or negative feedback—it’s just feedback. If you give and receive feedback with this mindset, you can do a much better job of finding effective ways to provide quality feedback without having any “hard feelings” attached.

The Most Effective Ways to Provide Feedback

  1. Make sure all answers and suggestions are being delivered in the right way. Give constructive criticism regarding negative actions and behaviors and offer career development tips the individual can implement right away.
  2. Feedback is feedback. Don’t think of feedback as positive or negative. This can actually inhibit your ability to say what you truly want to say. Just as an art critique is of the painting and not of the artist, you’re giving effective feedback on the behaviors that need to be corrected not on the individual’s character.
  3. What information would help this person do a better job? This is an important question to ask yourself as you give feedback, as your ultimate goal is to encourage behaviors that will ultimately help the individual get ahead and have a positive impact on co-workers and the firm at large.

If you’re on the receiving end, it is imperative to ask the right questions to make sure you get the best possible advice. Business Management Daily has published a post entitled, “How to Ask for Feedback,” that includes some tips from my book, Getting Ahead. Follow these tips to get constructive feedback to help you improve your performance at work.

Discover more effective ways to provide feedback or order my book Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level for more practical tips to help you advance in your career!
Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Responses to 3 of the Most Effective Ways to Provide Feedback

  1. Tony Goddard says:

    I agree with the sentiments of your post but would suggest that two of the reasons that people struggle with giving receive feedback are
    1 they don’t have any performance discussions through the year so the annual review becomes a big staged event. So the easiest way of changing that is to have regular reviews each month – in that way the annual review should be a summary of the discussions from the previous 12 months

    2 The need to be specific about performance issues. It’s not helpful to be told that you need to be more strategic, charismatic etc. Leaders need to provide specific examples of what they have seen or heard. Secondly a good route is to ask the employee how they would suggest the issue is solved and get their ideas. Too may line managers don’t bother and ed up giving ideas that the employee is not committed to

  2. You make some excellent points, Tony. I think feedback needs to be more or less continuous. Otherwise, it loses impact. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Catch them doing something right.” If someone comes up with a good idea or produces a good report, tell them right away. Be specific and give your kudos publicly if it’s appropriate. The same thing goes for mistakes. Don’t wait for the performance appraisal and then say, “You really blew that presentation back in March.” Instead, discuss it immediately and talk together about how they can improve next time around.

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