The Power Of Effective Constructive Feedback

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Constructive feedback is an opportunity to communicate with another individual on an aspect of their behaviour and its effect on their performance and/or other people. The aim is to change bad behaviour, not to embarrass, insult or offend someone – but all too often that is what happens!

This is probably why people find it so hard to give effective feedback. We worry that we will upset the other person or that we’ll be seen as the ‘bad guy’ for criticising them.

When feedback is given in a positive, constructive way, it can leave a powerful and lasting impression

Feedback can be seen as criticism, but this seriously limits its impact. It provides a way for people to learn and helps them to become more effective.

Don’t…
  • attack the other person.
  • be too hard hitting and aggressive.
  • be vague and hint at issues rather than address them directly.
  • be insensitive and lacking concern for the needs of the other person.
  • be disrespectful, demeaning or insulting.
  • focus on personality rather than behaviour.
  • generalise, referring to broad issues which cannot be easily defined.
  • delay – giving feedback long after the event.
  • be impulsive and thoughtless, with little regard for the consequences.
Do…
  • be prepared and gather as much evidence as possible.
  • choose an appropriate time and place.
  • be calm.
  • encourage ownership.
  • be supportive, non-threatening and encouraging.
  • be specific about the behaviour or event.
  • be accurate – always verify the facts.
  • describe the impact of their behaviour.
  • be sensitive to the needs of the other person.
  • be considerate and avoid belittling or demeaning.
  • focus on behaviour that can be changed, rather than personality.
  • act quickly – as close to the event as possible.
  • listen to what the other person has to say.
  • ask questions to clarify their views and understanding.
  • be helpful – feedback should be of value to the other person.
  • identify solutions, agree goals and an action plan, where appropriate.
  • Be fair, clear and consistent.
  • Follow up on agreed actions.
Benefits
If giving effective feedback is so tricky, is it worth doing. By getting it right, there are benefits for everyone, the individual, the team, the manager and the organisation. These benefits include:
  • Building confidence and self esteem
  • Improving motivation
  • Building positive relationships
  • Improving performance/productivity
  • Opportunities for personal development
  • Team building
  • Improving morale
  • Clarifying expectations
  • Encouraging desired behaviours
  • Solving problems
  • Developing leadership skills
Use constructive feedback frequently and also acknowledge good performance as well as poor performance on a regular basis. Feedback is vital to improve employee engagement and productivity and will have a positive impact on the organisation as well as the individual.

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