The Right Way To Give Feedback: A Simple Guide

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Giving feedback is a skill that is essential for success in both professional and personal relationships. However, it is also a skill that many people struggle with. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling tongue-tied or unsure of what to say, you’re not alone.

The good news is that giving feedback doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little bit of thought and effort, you can learn to give feedback in a way that is clear, concise, and most importantly, helpful.

In this article, we will explore the right way to give feedback. We will look at what makes feedback effective, how to give constructive feedback, and how to avoid common mistakes. By the end of this article, you will have all the tools you need to give feedback like a pro!

The Right Way to Give Feedback

Feedback is a critical part of effective communication in the workplace. By definition, feedback is “information about how well someone is doing, especially when it is given to help improve performance”.

In other words, feedback is a way to let someone know how they are doing, and to help them improve. There are many reasons why feedback is important. For one, it can help individuals understand what they are doing well, and what they could be doing better.

This self-awareness is essential for personal and professional development.

In addition, feedback can help to create a culture of openness and transparency in the workplace. When employees feel like they can give and receive honest feedback, it creates a more positive and productive work environment.

Finally, feedback can help to build strong relationships. When feedback is given constructively and positively, it can help to build trust and communication between team members.

But what makes feedback effective?

Feedback is only effective if it is given in the right way. Feedback should be:

  • Timely
  • Specific
  • Objective
  • Actionable

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.

1. Feedback should be timely

Feedback is most effective when it is given soon after the event that it relates to. This allows the person receiving the feedback to connect the feedback to their behaviour, and makes it more likely that they will be able to change their behaviour in the future.

2. Feedback should be specific

Feedback is more effective when it is specific, rather than general. For example, “you did a great job on that presentation” is more effective than “you’re doing a great job”.

3. Feedback should be objective

It is important to remember that feedback is not about your opinions or feelings, it is about the other person’s behaviour. Feedback should be objective, and based on observable behaviour.

4. Feedback should be actionable

For feedback to be truly effective, it should be actionable. This means that it should be specific enough that the person receiving the feedback can understand what they need to do differently in the future. It’s good to phase the expected action in a “who does what by when” format.

The difference between positive and negative feedback

It is important to understand the difference between positive and negative feedback, and when to use each. Positive feedback is about praising someone for doing something well. It should be given frequently and is a great way to build relationships and motivate team members.

Negative feedback is about correcting someone who has made a mistake. It should be given sparingly, and should always be followed by a suggestion for how to improve in the future.

Simple tips for the right way to give feedback

  • Give feedback regularly
  • Avoid giving criticism that is vague, personal, or judgmental
  • Criticize the behaviour, not the person
  • Use “I” statements
  • Avoid using “you” statements
  • Be aware of your tone
  • Avoid using “but”

Let’s take a closer look at each of these rules.

1. Give feedback regularly

Giving feedback regularly is important for two reasons. First, it shows that you are paying attention to your team members’ performance. Second, it helps to avoid the build-up of negative feelings that can come from infrequent feedback.

2. Avoid giving criticism that is vague, personal, or judgmental

When giving feedback, it is important to be specific. Criticism that is vague, personal, or judgmental is not helpful, and will only serve to annoy or frustrate the person receiving the feedback.

3. Criticize the behaviour, not the person

When critiquing someone’s behaviour, it is important to remember that you are not critiquing the person. For example, instead of saying “you’re lazy”, you could say “I noticed that you didn’t take the initiative to work on that project”.

4. Use “I” statements

When giving feedback, use “I” statements. For example, “I noticed that you didn’t take the initiative to work on that project”. This will help the person receiving the feedback to see it as your opinion, rather than a fact.

5. Avoid using “you” statements

Using “you” statements is often seen as confrontational. For example, “You didn’t do the job right”. It is important to avoid using “you” statements, as they will only serve to put the person on the defensive.

6. Be aware of your tone

Your tone of voice is important when giving feedback. Avoid sounding judgmental, condescending, or angry. Instead, try to sound supportive and positive.

7. Avoid using “but”

When giving feedback, avoid using the word “but”. For example, “You did a great job, but…”. Using the word “but” negates everything that came before it.

The right way to give feedback is important for both individuals and teams. Follow these simple rules to ensure that your feedback is clear, concise, and most importantly, helpful.

Common mistakes to avoid

When giving feedback, there are a few common mistakes that you should avoid:

1. Giving too much feedback

Giving too much feedback can be overwhelming, and can make it difficult for the person receiving the feedback to know what to change. When giving feedback, make sure to focus on one or two specific points.

2. Giving feedback that is not specific

As we discussed earlier, feedback is only effective if it is specific. Feedback that is not specific is not helpful, and can actually be detrimental.

3. Giving feedback that is not objective

Remember, feedback is not about your opinions or feelings. It is about the other person’s behaviour. Feedback should be objective, and based on observable behaviour.

4. Giving feedback that is not actionable

For feedback to be truly effective, it should be actionable. This means that it should be specific enough that the person receiving the feedback can understand what they need to do differently in the future.

Giving feedback effectively is vital for both individuals and teams. Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to giving feedback like a pro!

The right way to give feedback is a skill that is essential for success in both professional and personal relationships. By following the simple tips in this guide, you can learn to give feedback in a way that is clear, concise, and most importantly, helpful.

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By BMB Staff

Business Management Blog is your online resource for business management and strategy articles, insights, ideas and tools. We talk about Business Management, Strategy, Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, Leadership and Career Growth. Subscribe to the blog to get updates about new posts.

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