“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.” —Anonymous
Welcome to today’s lesson. Yesterday, you worked on improving your presentation skills. Today, you will understand how to give feedback graciously and appropriately. This skill is especially important if you are a manager or aspire to a leadership role. It’s also helpful for entrepreneurs when asked to give feedback on a client’s ideas.
Giving effective, appropriate feedback requires you to exercise emotional intelligence. This means that you consider what you are going to say before you say it. You put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand the potential effect of your feedback on them. Taking this action will help you express yourself in a way that makes it easier for them to accept it.
You use feedback to:
• Coach others to improve their performance on the job, in sports and hobbies, and in their private lives.
• Praise and reward accomplishments.
• Increase confidence and motivate continued improvement.
Feedback works best when you clearly communicate your expectations about performance, provide adequate instruction and support, and remain available to answer questions. In this way, no one is surprised if feedback is critical or negative.
When giving feedback:
• Be calm and prepared.
• Review any previous feedback to see if there has been improvement.
• Provide feedback soon after the event or performance.
• Be specific and detailed.
• Focus on behavior, not on personalities.
• Be courteous and encouraging.
• Rely on first-hand knowledge and observation.
• Explain how performance can be improved.
When asking for improvement, keep in mind that there are different ways that people learn.
• Visual learners need to read instructions, look at charts, and observe how something is done.
• Auditory learners need to listen, ask questions, and repeat what they have heard. It’s a discussion.
• Kinesthetic learners need to do it themselves a few times to get a feel of how it’s done.
Good feedback is non-judgmental and does not allow for personal biases to color it.
Avoid these feedback pitfalls:
All-or-nothing. Avoid seeing things as just black or white. Nothing is perfect or a total failure. It is not “your way or the highway.” This is especially important when you are giving feedback about a delegated assignment.
Jumping to conclusions. Stick to the facts, not interpretations or opinions.
Personalization and blame. Do not take things personally when they are not intended to be personal. Most people don’t make mistakes on purpose. If they are doing something wrong, it is usually not intentional.
Giving appropriate feedback contributes to your growth and success. When you provide open communication and structured feedback, you will enjoy greater productivity and higher morale.
Step 1. Make sure that you communicate your expectations for performance, so people understand what they need to deliver.
Step 2. Before giving feedback, set an intention to deliver it in a way that encourages improvement and avoids judgment.
Step 3. Focus on specific behaviors, not personalities, and set aside your biases.
See you tomorrow. Your next lesson will help you handle and recover from negative criticism and feedback.
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