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Why giving feedback and listening to it, helps improve staff performance and skills.

28th October 2014

5 top tips on how to provide constructive feedback in the workplace

Ouch, I read the scathing article in Management Today about the BoE deputy governor Minouche Shafik saying that bankers’ bad behaviour isn’t due to just a few ‘bad apples.’

Regardless of whether you are in the banking and finance sector, giving feedback to staff is par for the course for every company, from the multinational to the newsagent on the corner of your road. It helps people become more aware of their impact on others and how they might build their motivation, strengths, knowledge, skills and performance.

Regardless of whether you are in the banking and finance sector, giving feedback to staff is par for the course for every company, from the multinational to the newsagent on the corner of your road. It helps people become more aware of their impact on others and how they might build their motivation, strengths, knowledge, skills and performance.

Learning to give constructive feedback is one of the most valuable and under-used interpersonal skills in the modern workplace. Regardless of how complex the business world becomes, people will always need to communicate comfortably and effectively with others.

Here are 5 top tips on how to give feedback that really IS constructive:-

  1. Be specific not general

 

Avoid statements like “that was awful’ or “you were brilliant” or “that went well”. A statement such as “the way you open questions to get the information from people” is far more detailed and specific than “you’re good at getting information from people”. Being specific provides more of an opportunity for someone to learn from an example and so repeat it and build upon it in future.

 

  1. Describe, don’t just judge

 

Tell the person what you saw or heard and the affect it had on you. To tell someone they are “dominating”, for example won’t be as useful as saying “I noticed that you didn’t seem to be listening to what I was saying” and “I felt forced to accept your arguments.”

Use “I find” rather than “You are.”

 

  1. ‘Own’ your feedback

 

You are entitled to provide feedback on the other person’s actions as you see them, so use “I think” not “we think”. Describing your observations this way recues the likelihood of the other person responding defensively. In terms of feedback YOU are the expert on:

  • The impact of other people’s behaviour
  • Your own feelings

However, you are NOT an expert on

  • The impact of your own behaviour
  • Other people’s feelings

 

  1. Be sensitive

When we receive feedback, we all go, however briefly, through up to 5 of the following stages:-

Shock – what did they say?!

Anger – how dare they say that!

Rejection – I’m NOT like that at all!

Acceptance – Well, maybe there is something in it.

Honesty – Yes, I am like that/

Acceptance may not happen immediately, as a person may prefer to go away and thing about the feedback before wanting to discuss it further with you.

  1. Check the other person’s agreement or response to your feedback

 

Give the other person a chance to think about and discuss the feedback in your presence; people are unlikely to act upon any feedback with which they disagree, so try asking “How do you feel about that?” or “ What do you see as the next step?”

The real measure of your feedback is what the other person does as a result of it!

With this in mind, you can offer alternatives. By this, I mean if you do offer any negative points, then don’t just criticise, but instead suggest what the person COULD have done differently. Always turn the negatives into a positive suggestion.

 

For more top tips about Giving Constructive Feedback,  visit the new Creativedge ‘Top 10 Tips’  App available for iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones:-

Appstore – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/top-10-tips/id796349890?mt=8

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.elixsoft.creativedge