Feedback, of course, can be both formal and informal, positive and negative. We, unfortunately, have a tendency to immediately associate the word ‘feedback’ with severe criticism. But what it essentially is, is simple sharing of a reaction, opinion, information - about an offering, product or person’s performance on a given task.
Helpful reminders, discussions in passing, ongoing guidance are all a part of informal feedback. But when informal methods do not work, and the behavior of the reportee persists, the manager needs to then find a form of formal feedback to speak with the employee.
Formal feedback involves a more planned or structured approach, such as a meeting or review, e-mail or memo. These actions normally allow more direct and formal contact with the employee and can better address the problem, as well as a solution.
Here are some ways in which you can give feedback effectively:
Think Before You Speak:
- Spend time choosing your words before having the conversation.
- Make eye contact as it is a way to show respect and how engaged you are.
- Make the effort to see the full picture before setting up the feedback session.
- Put yourself in their shoes and imagine being on the receiving end.
- Give feedback only if you have something constructive to add.
Speak Authentically & Honestly:
- Don’t sweet-talk, but don’t insult.
- Give them a chance to share their side; don’t interrupt.
- Don’t take a tone of assigning blame for the problem.
- Choose different words and approaches for different people.
- Do not sandwich your message or keep the best for the last.
- Pick up even the words that are not being spoken.
- Show empathy and give respect.
- Do not ever play the ‘you always do this’ card.
- Focus on discovering the solution together.
- Don’t trust your opinion and provide the solution yourself.
- Make a mutually agreeable plan and track progress together.
Here are some ways in which you can receive feedback maturely:
Try And See The Merit:
- Process the intention rather than focusing on the words.
- Start by acknowledging the feedback.
- Acknowledging a feedback is different from apologizing.
- Put yourself in their shoes and think how you would have reacted.
- Become aware of what you did to generate such a feedback.
Take Your Time To Respond:
- Don’t speak or act immediately.
- Apologise, only if you mean it.
- If you don’t agree with the feedback, provide an explanation.
- Keep your heart and mind open; do not get defensive.
Make Your Mind Available For Clarity:
- Keep your calm and composure.
- Take ownership of your action.
- Share that you intend on working on the feedback.
- Do not assume that the feedback giver should be the solution giver too.
Be it for sloppy work, money matters, too many leaves or appraisals - giving feedback as a manager is never a walk in the park. However, whether you are a manager, a reportee or both - learning not just how to give but also receive feedback maturely is surely a skill worth learning. A continuous feedback system is something which every organization is adopting today and is believed to be significant in terms of performance management.