Do you avoid feedback? Why not try these tips...
Although a lot of us may think about giving feedback at work, not all of us are actively practising it. Is this because we don’t know how to go about it?
I recently read an article in the Spring 2018 Edge magazine, published by the Institute of Learning and Management, that gives seven tips for how to deliver critical feedback if you need to. Giving feedback can be an uncomfortable task but avoiding it will only leave you missing an opportunity to help someone else to grow.
Here are just a few of the examples given in the article:
- Criticise the behaviour, not the person.
- Don’t get so caught up in critical feedback that you fail to give due credit.
- Woolly and vague criticism won’t help them.
- The best time to give critical feedback is as soon after the event as possible.
After reading this, I found many similarities between their suggested tips and how we, at The Juniper Company, believe feedback should be given:
- Own your statements You should talk about examples of behaviours you observed first hand. If you are using phrases such as ‘You are…’ or ‘You can’t…’ in a feedback conversation, the receiver could be feeling under attack and become defensive. Whereas if you use phrases such as ‘what you did…’ then the feedback is directed more towards the actions of the person rather than the person themselves.
- Be clear, specific and unambiguous. Avoid vague or generalised statements. It is so important to be specific in the feedback you are giving so that the receiver knows exactly what they need to work on in order to be better. The more specific you are, the easier the receiver will be able to understand where they need to improve and act upon it.
- Show that you are motivated by care and concern. Give feedback to help the other person grow. It is brave to sit down with someone and say I’d like to give you some feedback and can be much easier to keep quiet in a difficult conversation. Make sure you are approaching a feedback conversation with the intention to help the other person grow.
- Deliver feedback in the moment or soon after. Timing is crucial, and it is important that the feedback given is relevant to the time it is happening. If feedback is left too late, it can end up being misconstrued and furthermore cause the receiver to react badly, questioning why it wasn’t given at the time.
- Praise in public, give constructive feedback in private. It is important to get the balance right of praise and criticism so that the person knows that they are doing a great job, however, if they worked on a couple of areas you could really see improvement in overall performance. Giving someone praise in public gives them the recognition they deserve and will motivate them and others. Constructive feedback should however be done in private, especially if specific to the individual.
If you are reading this knowing that you are someone who finds giving feedback uncomfortable, push yourself to start practising. Why not try these to help you?