When most people hear “I have some feedback for you” it raises negative connotations. Why is this so? Why do so many people have a problem with giving and receiving feedback?
In my experience it is because most Leaders only give negative feedback. That’s right they only give ‘feedback’ to staff when something goes wrong and this creates an uneasiness with the word feedback.
So in order improve how we go about our day to day tasks, we need to make Feedback welcomed and included in our daily conversations.
Now don’t have a fit thinking you have to give negative feedback and tell people they are doing things wrong every day.
Ideally feedback should be given regularly regardless of whether things are going well or not. Feedback should occur when things are moving along well, when you see an opportunity to do things differently to meet changing needs or when things are no longer working or something has actually gone wrong.
To increase your effectiveness feedback should be considered in a manner of “it’s how we do things around here”.
Feedback should be welcomed by all, you should give and receive feedback to each other regularly regardless of your position and level within the organisation. Feedback should be organic and immediate – as soon as you recognise something that is working well, tell the person! If you can see an opportunity for improvement, tell them! Don’t sit on it and tell them days or weeks later.
Likewise if you notice something that no longer works or that has been done incorrectly, approach that person and let them know. Explain to them what you saw, why you feel there is an opportunity to do it better and what the outcome of making the change will be - what’s the benefit of the change, and how you can work together to make the change.
So how do you implement this approach into your team.
Here’s 11 handy tips on feedback
1. Feedback should only be given with good grace and a desire to help others.
2. Concentrate on the How and What of the situation – not the why – when you ask “why did you do that” people become defensive.
A better way to find out why someone did something is to ask:
“How does your action help you achieve the outcome you are looking for?”
“What outcome were you seeking when you ….. (raised your voice in the meeting?) or
“When you spoke over the top of *person A* in the meeting, did you intend to make them angry?”
Use questions to check whether their actions achieved their desired result.
3. Feedback should be given in a timely manner – ideally immediately, or as soon as possible after you notice the good work, opportunity or problem.
4. When giving feedback watch for their body language, movement, eye contact as well as words and tone of their voice to see if they are onboard with your comments or whether you need to alter your approach to get your message across.
5. Check for understanding – ask them how they feel about your observations and ideas and if they see it as something that can be implemented or is there something they think would prevent your idea from moving forward?
6. Be consistent in your feedback, don’t say they are doing something well today and tomorrow tell them it’s wrong.
7. Give praise where praise is due and congratulate people on their work and things that have been done well – this is still feedback and will encourage them to continue to do good work.
8. Encourage your team to experiment! Yep, try things out and encourage them to make mistakes!
Get them to give each other and you feedback on their learnings when things don’t go the way you (or they) thought they would – embrace this process.
9. Feedback should be given in a learning manner in order to embrace and enact a change. Use words such as:
* I noticed that ……
* Have you considered…..
* I have heard of a new way of …….
* Have you ever thought about how we could do things differently with …..
10. You should be able to explain what the problem/issue/opportunity is, the need for the change and what the benefit or outcome of the change will be.
11. Consider who you are giving the feedback to and adjust your approach accordingly:
* you asking someone who has designed and developed a process to change the whole thing – how can you approach them so that they will not be defensive and will listen to your feedback?
* ask them how they feel the process is working and get their feedback – they may have already noticed the same thing as you, but didn’t know who to approach or how to change it.
* ask them if they can see any opportunities for change/improvement and listen to their ideas.
* explain to them that you have seen an opportunity where you think if a change was made it would benefit them/the department/organisation by explaining the benefit.
* then explain the change you want to make.
* get their buy in and listen to their thoughts about the situation.
* agree who is going to take this forward to the next step and clarify expectations.
If you want to grow and develop, or learn more about leadership and coaching, contact CLC to get started
Helen brings a wealth of experience gained over 20 years in Human Resources in Australia and overseas.
Images by JKO
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