Providing Effective Feedback: 6 Key Characteristics
We know that giving effective feedback can be tough. You want to be able to provide constructive feedback, that helps the individual learn and grow, while avoiding insulting, belittling or punishing them.
Feedback is essentially commentary on how you think someone is doing, and therefore, it can include positive or negative comments, or both. However, just providing feedback does not mean it is effective. Effective feedback is given, heard, understood and then acted upon. A goal of providing feedback is for it to contribute to an improvement of future performance.
Giving feedback at all can be a tricky process, some people do not respond well to feedback. They may have had bad experiences with performance reviews, harsh bosses or coaches, or simply aren’t accustomed to receiving praise or speaking about themselves in front of others. By contrast, other people enjoy receiving feedback, and often times – employees find they do not receive enough feedback.
Part of providing effective feedback is deciding when it’s needed, and how often. We consider there to be six major characteristics of giving effective feedback:
- 1.) In private – Feedback should be given in private, especially if there is anything potentially negative or embarrassing about said feedback. Though I do recognize that some people like the attention that comes with being praised in front of others.
- 2.) Balanced – This is about designing feedback as to ensure if criticism is required, that the employee does not feel attacked, or as if everything you say about their work is negative. We recommend starting this a positive comment, and then dive right into the heart of the meeting as to avoid the anxiety building in the employee. Structure and sincerity is usually accepted well.
- 3.) Relevant – Keep the feedback focused on things that are job related, or that the employee actually has control over. For example, complaining about the way a letter looks when the employee only has access to an ancient printer isn’t fair.
- 4.) Specific – Try to avoid general statements like “you seem unmotivated”, instead be specific about how so, for example “You arrived late to work at least three days a week, your last two assignments were late, and you did not attend the new employee lunch last week.”
- 5.) Documentation – Base your comments on documentation, facts and your own observation rather than relying on what another colleague told you, or what you’ve overheard.
- 6.) Personal – Describe behavior that is unsatisfactory, rather than judge a person because of it. Give feedback on their actions, rather than making it a personal attack on the individual.
These are our six main characteristics of providing effective feedback, but we know that everything from tone of voice, to body language can affect how your feedback is received. It also depends on the person who is receiving the feedback, but all in all – these six characteristics should help you to provide feedback that is useful, motivating and acted upon.
Learn more about Giving Effective Feedback with our course here: http://www.velsoft.com/products/supervisors-and-managers/giving-effective-feedback