What is it that is so important about feedback? Giving and receiving feedback without causing offense is important in life just as much as in business and work.
There are many ways of giving and receiving feedback.
From talking to your kids about their behavior to commenting on how a colleague carried out an important task.
Giving and receiving feedback is part of our everyday life.
This article talks about the process of communicating with others and how you can receive feedback.
Purpose Of Feedback
For purposes of discussion, effective feedback is one which was heard clearly, understood, and accepted by the recipient.
There is positive feedback and negative feedback.
You don’t have control over how the recipient sees and chooses to act on your feedback.
The main purpose of feedback should be providing constructive feedback.
Tips For Giving Feedback
People have different ways to give feedback.
To make sure that you know how to give feedback effectively, you need to develop a few skills and follow these rules:
- Giving and receiving feedback should be about the person’s behavior and not their personality. Your feedback shouldn’t be personal. Comment only about how the other person behaved.
- Feedback must describe the impact of the other person’s behavior on you. Some people do not receive feedback very well. Most of them may take it negatively.
Presenting your feedback as your own opinion makes it easier to accept, even if it is negative feedback.
- Be specific. If you are giving performance feedback, point out exactly what your subordinate did and how exactly it made you feel. Avoid saying, “everything you do is unacceptable”.
- Timely feedback is more effective. Your feedback loses its importance or usefulness if you give it six months later. Feedback is useful when given after you initially observed it, and when everyone else still remembers it.
However, do not act on pure impulse, you should still think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.
- Pick the perfect moment. There are some who have a hard time handling constructive criticism.
They always look at it negatively, especially when they are too emotional right at that moment.
So, If the other person is upset, wait until they have calmed down before you give them your feedback.
Additional Tips For Giving Feedback:
Choose your language/words carefully. You may use these phrases:
- “When you did this, ______, I felt _____.”
- “I liked how you handled ________.”
- “When you said that _____, I thought _____.”
- “It made me feel _______ to hear you say _____ in that way.”
Every interaction is an opportunity to provide feedback in business or feedback for colleagues.
Some of the most effective and important giving and receiving of feedback may happen casually in quick chitchat.
How To Receive Feedback
The key to effectively receiving feedback that someone else is giving to you is to know the skills you need, especially when it is something negative.
This is more so as not everyone is skilled in giving feedback.
- Be open. You’ll never hear if you don’t listen. Refrain from thinking about what your reply is going to be, just listen to the other person. There are a lot of feedback methods and not everyone is aware of them, so just keep an open mind.
- Reflect on the feedback given. Focus on your behavior and not on the other person’s personality.
- Don’t take it personally. You may not receive positive feedback, but you shouldn’t hold it against the other person.
Handling Constructive Criticism
At some point, you will be criticized, as you will also be giving criticism.
It might be hard both for the recipient and giver, however, this will depend on the reaction to the feedback and delivery of the feedback.
Both constructive and destructive criticisms will challenge your character, ideas, and abilities.
Criticism, if deliberately malicious, hurtful, and thoughtless, becomes destructive. In some cases, destructive criticism may lead to disagreement, aggression, and anger.
There are different feedback methods.
When feedback is given to point out a particular mistake but also gives ways on how to improve, it becomes constructive criticism.
This is easier to accept.
Giving Performance Feedback Constructively
Leaders are expected to give feedback in business.
As a leader, you are also expected to faciliate 360 feedback for managers.
Here are helpful tips on how to give feedback to employees, that will produce positive results:
Focus On The Other Person’s Behavior
Whether you are giving positive or negative feedback in the workplace, your focus should be on what the employee did.
Your feedback shouldn’t be about what they believe in or what/who they are.
To make it more effective, it should be about the behavior you want them to possess, and not the behavior you observed and didn’t appreciate.
Don’t say: “Can you please not do that. I hate it when you do that.”
Say this instead: “I would appreciate it if you would do this, rather than do that. It would have a _____ effect.”
It is easier for the recipient to accept feedback along these lines because they are given a better option.
Also, it offers an option for change or a better solution.
You won’t come off as being hostile or too critical.
Your Feedback Should Be About Their Behavior’s Effect On You Alone, And Not On The Other Person’s Intentions
It is not being self-centered.
It is simply understanding that you don’t really know why the other person acted the way they did.
You are only fully aware of the effect of their actions on you.
It is best to simply base your feedback on their behavior’s effect on you.
Never say: “You know, when you behaved this way, I thought ______.”
Say this instead: “You know, if you ________, I’d be impressed.”
Your Feedback Should Be Specific
There are people, even if they are your subordinate, who find it hard to receive feedback.
You have to be specific and as detailed as possible.
Again, this should be about the behavior you want to see in them, and not what they recently did.
It’s not even important to mention the behavior you didn’t like, instead, simply try to ask them if they would be willing to do something different.
You may ask them for a simple favor, and not necessarily giving a comment about their recent behavior at all.
You can use phrases such as:
“Would you mind _____?”
“Can you please ______? It’ll make my life easier.”
“I’d appreciate it if you can _______.”
These may not be long-term solutions, but they will quickly know what you would like them to do.
If they keep up and stay on board, you might just see a lasting effect on them.
Talk To Them Immediately
For your feedback to serve its purpose, it should be given promptly.
This is how to effectively give feedback to employees.
However, you have to take emotions into consideration.
If you are angry about it, you have to wait until you are calmer.
You cannot give constructive criticism if you are mad or upset.
You are giving feedback not to seek revenge but to help the other person improve. Never get mad.
To Effectively Give Feedback In The Workplace, It Has To Be Heard
Give feedback when the other person is ready to receive (hear) it.
There’s no point in giving or receiving feedback when one or both of you are upset or tired.
Pick the right moment to talk to them.
Important: When given feedback (whether negative or positive), think about being in their shoes.
What would you want to hear?
How would you like others to talk to you about your behavior?
What is the acceptable approach to you?
Giving and receiving feedback allows people to make changes in their behavior to help them achieve their goals.
For managers, providing feedback is a way to help their subordinates to attain goals in relation to the company’s goals and objectives.
It is important to determine the gap that exists between company expectations and objectives.
Find below feedback best practices that you can consider:
Supposing you are the recipient of some feedback and your manager say one of these to you:
- “I’m not fully convinced that you can perform this task effectively on your own.”
- “I reviewed your report and I must say I expected more from you. You are experienced in this area, I am quite disappointed.”
- “Your team is not working as one, I observed.”
How do you feel hearing these words?
Now, take a look at different versions, assuming that your manager is talking to you:
- “I believe you need to learn additional skills before I can give you this task.”
- “To move forward, I want you to add more details on the 4th phase of your report and include supporting information for theory number 3.”
- “You need to get your team’s commitment and cooperation, for your team to meet deadlines.”
The second examples are more focused on giving constructive criticism, which is more effective.
Guiding Principles To Giving Positive Feedback
- Clearly differentiates results, actions, and people
- Descriptive, not accusative
- Prescriptive and gives actionable information
- Indicates trust in the team and their abilities
When Should You Give Feedback?
Essentially when a subordinate has a set goal to make improvements or achieved something outstanding, or in the learning phase.
It is important to provide feedback during the mentoring process.
Give feedback, whether the set goal is accomplished or not.
How Often Should Feedback Be Given?
A subordinate should feel supported and engaged.
This will be a motivating factor to make improvements on themselves.
Giving Feedback For Colleagues
Giving and receiving positive feedback fosters positive relations between co-workers.
Recognizing each other’s success and accomplishments help create a strong sense of acceptance and bonding among team members.
It’s also a way of sharing ideas.
It allows new employees to get the needed support as they start out.
- Know when to give feedback. Giving positive feedback should be based on the person and not on the size of the achievement.
Common instances that may need recognition include a colleague showing exceptional skills, achieving a set goal, or someone needing encouragement.
Even if a colleague failed to reach a set goal, feedback should still be given, but constructively.
- Be descriptive. When giving feedback, describe exactly what you observed to be something good about their actions/performance. Tell them how impressed you were. Again, it is important to focus on the actions rather than on the individual.
- You can give feedback either in public or in private. Consider the personality of the recipient. However, a wise move is to give positive feedback publicly. This is a good confidence-booster and can serve as motivation to others.
- Encourage one another through feedback.
How To Give Feedback To Your Boss
Providing feedback to colleagues is just as important as giving feedback to your boss (or someone you report to).
It may be uncomfortable, but this is important for both your professional growths respectively.
Managers (and supervisors) always have mentoring/coaching sessions, take this opportunity to give your feedback.
This is how to give feedback to your boss:
- Pick the right time. Your regular one-on-one meeting with the boss is a perfect time. If you’re not getting any, you should ask for them.
This regular session allows you and your boss build rapport, talk about challenges and successes, and provide and give feedback.
- Make the necessary preparation. Admit it or not, while every person is aware that they need to receive constructive feedback, it’s still difficult to hear from others. Hence, you need to prepare for your time with the boss.
Prepare on what approach to use, what you will say, and write down specific points you want to discuss.
Be honest and respectful at the same time.
- Use ‘I’ statements. When giving feedback, it should be about you. Never resort to finger-pointing.
Just as your boss gives feedback about your behavior, you should keep everything at a professional level.
Let your boss understand how their behavior affects you, directly.
You may use phrases like, “I believe I would need support from you when you ask me to _________.” Alternately, you may say, “I’d appreciate it if I am giving more freedom in doing this, _______.”
Always state a specific situation all the time.
Avoid making general statements.
- Be aware of unconscious bias. Before proving feedback, make sure that you are only stating specific facts or providing specific evidence.
Whether you are giving constructive feedback to your colleagues or your boss, the purpose of the feedback should be consistent.
Remember that constructive criticism has its benefits. You may not receive the response you want at that moment, but you are assured that you will get the other person to think.
How To Receive Feedback From Your Boss
Every employee wants to receive feedback, but some find it challenging to hear from others.
It’s hard for managers and supervisors, as well, since they don’t know how their subordinates will react.
The most important consideration in receiving feedback effectively is to set aside negative bias.
Recipients should keep an open mind and should not take feedback personally.
You Have To Be An Active Listener
To hear someone is different from listening to that person.
Make sure that you understand every word the other person says to you.
Do not try to compose your reply while the other person is talking.
You’ll be surprised to learn more about yourself.
In giving and especially receiving feedback, you need to be conscious of your body language, the tone of your voice, and your facial expressions.
Maintain eye contact.
Don’t get too defensive.
If you become upset or if you disagree, allow yourself to calm down before you respond.
When you do respond, choose your words, and remember to focus on what the other said.
- Don’t take their comment[s] personally. Take it as it is and use it to improve your performance. Think about how it can improve your behavior.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Should you have doubts, ask. It is important that you understand the other person’s concerns.
- Express your appreciation to the other person, regardless of their feedback. Don’t dwell on the negativity, rather take the comments with a grain of salt. Remember that every manager sets aside time to talk and give feedback to their subordinates.
- Act. Reflect on what the other person said to you. Think about their feedback on your performance. Evaluate your options before finally deciding on what steps to take next. Use the feedback to become better with your job.
Whether you are giving or receiving feedback, it is important to always be respectful.
When you are on the receiving end, make sure that you listen to what the other person wants to say.
Never take their comments personally.
It is very necessary to receive negative feedback, you have the option to accept them and learn from them or to get upset at the other person.
Always choose the former.
Keep your responses classy.
If you are the one giving feedback, make sure to focus on the other person’s behavior rather than the individual.
Again, don’t make things personal.
Giving and receiving feedback is helpful in all aspects of one’s life – whether personal or professional – feedback has benefits.
Do you have more tips and ideas about giving and receiving feedback?
Please share with us!
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