On Feedback

A critical component of the overall Feedback process is the need to create an environment that is open and conducive to giving and receiving feedback. Here are the top 10 things we need to ensure:

1. The recipient the receiver is ready and open to receiving the feedback at the time assigned to the process (cancel if you suspect that the recipient is not prepared or mentally uneasy to receive the feedback now)
2. Feedback provider is familiar with the critical areas where feedback (positive and negative) applies to the recipient
3. Focus on the positives to start with and then cover off the negatives – always consider that negatives could expressed as ‘future areas of strengths’
4. If you believe the recipient is somewhat tentative about the process overall, consider sharing/disclosing past feedback you have received (negative and positive) and how you applied it to improve yourself
5. Keep the session ‘issue focused’ and disallow yourself or the recipient to reference anything that becomes personal to both of you.
6. Do not use vague, non-measurable language – ” I have noticed many times that you appear to be disconnected with the rest of the team.”
This is statement is far too vague to be able to use it for any meaningful guidance or feedback. Consider this statement: “During the last 3 weekly team meetings I noted that you chose to excuse yourself during all three meetings and only returned when the meeting was wrapping up.”
7. Giving feedback comes with the responsibility of providing the structure and support that the recipient will need in order to take the feedback in a positive vein and then do something to improve themselves based on the feedback. Your role does not end until the recipient and you agree that the recipient has adequately implemented the feedback and addressed the concerns noted
8. Consider the feedback you are planning to give – ensure that you are prepared for any feedback that may be bordering on the personal (Drug use, family problems that may be manifested in poor work productivity, personal relationships in the office, etc). Consider talking with HR before engaging in such feedback sessions.
9. Be brutally honest always – but remember this is a constructive session and not intended to be a destructive one. Choose your tone and tenor appropriately and keep things issue focused always as stated before.
10. Remember that you are working with an extremely precious asset to the Organization – consider the time, effort and cost of getting a brand new employee up to the level of productivity this individual can currently bring to the team. It is in your best interest and that of the organization to make the feedback session a productive and gratifying experience to the employee as well as to yourself and the organization.

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