How to give effective feedback
Passing on positive feedback is a pleasure. But how do you deal with critical feedback? The way you deliver the feedback can either help the recipient to improve or leave them disheartened. Here are five tips for delivering effective feedback.
Passing on positive feedback is a pleasure. But how do you deal with critical feedback? The way you deliver the feedback can either help the recipient to improve or leave them disheartened.
Here are five tips for delivering effective feedback:
- Give critical feedback constructively - Feedback is not always pleasing to hear. Yet all feedback can be given constructively. Think about your intent when you decide to give critical feedback. Is it to punish or to enable the recipient to improve?
- Make it about behaviour, not character – remember that you are not passing judgement on someone’s character or values. This is about the impact of the behaviour. State plainly how you would like things to be different in future. This approach will make it more likely for the recipient to hear and accept it.
- Be specific - Make sure you ask for examples when obtaining feedback. Vague comments are unhelpful. It is far more useful to hear about a particular occasion than, for example, ‘X is a poor communicator’.
- Make it timely - Putting off giving critical feedback is an easy trap. Days drift into weeks and weeks into months. Perhaps you never pass it on. Delay helps no one. Feedback needs to be timely. Just get on with it.
- Be well prepared - Plan the feedback process as you would any meaningful communication. Book time and private space. Explain in advance that you have feedback to share. Set aside some time and write up the key points. Think about how you would like to hear the feedback if you were the recipient.
Remember that the essence of giving effective feedback is that it imparts hope, and this creates the motivation to work at change.