Here are three quick tips for sharing feedback!
Tip 1 Who's Giving Feedback
The person giving the feedback can have a huge impact on how it is received. If you are just a participant or someone on the side watching, it's best not to provide constructive feedback unless asked to do so. You have no idea what went into a task or situation and while you may mean well your "help" may not be well received. If you are the person, who is responsible for giving a critique of the performance, make sure you are speaking from a place of expertise and knowledge. It's difficult for a receiver to accept information from someone who hasn't been at the table and knows what was overcome or tackled in the total process. If you are not sure of the daily ins and outs, it's best to start off by asking and getting yourself up to speed before sharing your own thoughts and ideas.
Tip 2 Know when to give the feedback
Giving feedback is definitely a timing issue! Giving a summary of events can be ill received if provided at the wrong time. Immediately following a task or event may not always be the best time especially if the task was a long difficult one that may have left the individual(s) feeling like an old used up dish rag. Wait until the smoke or at least the fog clears. The receiver needs to have had some time to self-evaluate and process the event or task on their own. If time allows, wait a few days if not a week to share your thoughts. This will allow the receiver to be rested and in a better mental place to accept and take in feedback.
Tip 3 Knowing how to give feedback
Are you delivering information in a tactful and supportive way or have you dropped it down on someone's head like a flock of geese heading south, spraying them with a litany of corrections to be made? Giving feedback should be done with a high level of thought beforehand. Sure it can be vomited out in the moment and at the speed of automatic gun fire but the results will be anything but positive. In education, teachers are taught the Sandwich Method which basically has the criticism sprinkled before and after with compliments. While this is an effective technique it can be so predictive that the receiver rarely hears the compliments as they wait for the other shoe to drop.
A better technique is one that looks at the whole situation, acknowledges the challenges going on, the areas that were overcome, as well as includes possible solutions. If solutions don't immediately exist, give the individual(s) reassurance that the "team" will search for one. No one should be an island to accept and shoulder blame. If so, we've been using the word "team" incorrectly.
The bottom line is feedback is incredibly useful and it's what makes good people and organizations -great! What we need to remember in its delivery is that feedback makes others vulnerable and a person's natural reaction is to swing to the defensive. While most of us remain professional and don't throw a tantrum when we are told we could have done better, we still can feel wounded if feedback is given in a less than effective way.
Wounded employees can become disengaged employees very quickly. It's not about handling employees with kid gloves because we are all responsible for how we choose to move forward. Yet, giving any level of feedback comes with responsibility and it should be done with better awareness. It's important for a healthy organization to make sure it's employees feel as though they are supported and appreciated by really thinking through how, when and by whom feedback will be given.
Nicole Darling, MS
For information on having Nicole share Professional Intelligence training with you organization, contact Nicole at 570-406-2035 or email Nicole@NicoleDarling.com