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How Do You Train Managers To Give & Receive Feedback Effectively?

August, 2 2018

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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.

Listen Deeply:

  • 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.

Solve Together:

  • 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.

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