Giving feedback to someone is a real gift as it helps that person to grow. And yet many of us shirk away from doing it as we are worried that we will upset that person and ruin the relationship.
I agree that if you give feedback to someone and you haven’t thought about how you’ll communicate it then yes, it can end in disaster. But follow these tips and you can both walk away feeling that you’ve had a helpful conversation.
Research shows that creating a culture of feedback will help to develop your team. This in turn will help you retain your top talent so it’s definitely worth getting in to the habit of doing.
Structure of giving feedback
Give feedback as soon as you can after an event while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.
Don’t wait for the annual appraisal 7 months later. The person you are giving feedback to isn’t going to remember an event from months back and so won’t be able to ask questions and learn from it. All you’ll achieve is frustrating the individual.
Also, think about how the person will receive it? Will they need time to digest the feedback after the discussion? If so perhaps giving feedback prior to a lunch break would be helpful? This way the individual can take some time out to reflect on the conversation. Offer to meet them the next day to answer any questions that they may have.
Get in to the habit of giving regular feedback to your team. That way they’ll know what they need to be working on and what they’re doing well so they know to do more of that.
Ask your manager for regular feedback so that you can also learn and grow.
Don’t give constructive feedback to an individual in front of their colleagues. This is uncomfortable for all concerned. Instead, ask to see them in a meeting room where you can both have an open and honest conversation and where you won’t be interrupted.
5. Be specific
The more information that you can give to the individual the more that you’ll be able to help them learn from the event. So, talk about what you saw, what you heard and suggest how this can be improved. Then come up with an action plan of how they can implement this change.
Discuss the positive effect on them, the team or the company by starting or stopping doing what you’re discussing.
Agree a deadline for implementing this change or improvement – whether it’s to have immediate effect or is something requiring training and implementation over the coming weeks.
6. Follow up
At the end of the discussion confirm that you will send them an email documenting the conversation, so that they can refer back to it if they need to and know what they are doing and by when.
Asking for feedback
If you receive feedback then acknowledge that this person has taken the time to give you this gift and you may want to acknowledge that as you feel fit.
Every time you receive feedback, even if you don’t agree with what’s being said, treat it is a learning opportunity. Take the time to reflect, be kind to yourself and see how you can take this information onboard.
Ask your HR team if they can do a 360 feedback. This will be so beneficial for you to know both what you are doing well and what is working less well for your team.
If your HR team isn’t able to do this then consider asking for feedback yourself. The book “The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8AM” has a template email that you can use which asks for feedback.
I did this a few weeks ago and also set up a survey monkey questionnaire so that, if people didn’t want to give direct feedback to me, they could do so anonymously.
I can’t recommend this exercise enough. The information I got from it was so valuable and I really appreciated everyone taking the time to complete it so that I could work on my strengths and weaknesses.
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