Monday, April 17, 2017

How Well Do You Provide Feedback?

Author:  Ellen V. Platton
              Learning & Talent Development Professional

We all want to learn and make improvements in our lives.  We should also want to help others along their way. One way is by providing feedback in a way that helps to improve someone’s performance – constructive feedback. Feedback is information about our reactions to a product or a person’s performance of a task. Feedback should not be a personal attack or with judgment about the individual. Rather feedback should help to improve the individual's overall performance and therefore build a stronger team and solid outcomes.

So how should we go about providing feedback effectively? Well the process starts with the conversation. Important to note is that we do not all accept feedback in the same manner nor are we equally resilient to feedback.  Some of us are eager and ready for feedback. There are also those on the opposite side of the fence who may be guarded when it comes to receiving information on their performance. Feedback is more widely accepted when someone is not on the defensive. Knowing that we all handle feedback differently becomes essential to the way we approach "the conversation". We all benefit by a conversation without blame. For example, when providing constructive feedback, we may try stating “I wish this layout was a bit more organized” rather than “This layout you presented is a mess”. The focus becomes the layout rather than about the individual who presented the layout. 

What we need to do is listen, be positive or empathetic, suggest “development areas”, and provide support and encouragement. Focus on the goal of the business or task by energizing and motivating people in a timely fashion. Without support, there won’t be much motivation.

What we don’t want to do is to make the individual defensive about the feedback received. The focus is to develop, reach a goal and encourage improvement or even maintain progress. Pointing out someone’s weaknesses or their poor performance does not reach our goal. Remember feedback is not about the person so we should not pass judgment, compare them to their peers or include labels.

The next time you are about to provide feedback, you may want to: 

S=State the standard (or expected) behavior
B=Point out the actual behavior
I=Note the Impact, results or consequences of the actual behavior 

When was the last time you provided feedback? What kind of feedback did you last receive?   Please feel free to comment or share.

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