The only problem with this wonderful gift is not many people know how to package and wrap it properly before they give it out.
Comedy shows make light of the feedback method the “Compliment Sandwich”. This is when in order to soften the blow of feedback you “sandwich” it in between two complements. I always laugh at the animated way this is depicted thinking surely not, however these jokes always originate from a place of reality unfortunately.
Proper feedback is really close to my heart. It has the ability to change mindsets and propel people to a new level of growth, capability and insight it also has the ability to ruin trust, demoralise and confuse people with no behavioural change at all. In Proverbs it states:
“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise”.
Proverbs 15: 31-33 NLT.
My goal is to facilitate thinking around how to give feedback constructively and to increase the efficiency in the way in which we deliver it.
There are a spectrum of way’s people approach giving constructive feedback. This maybe from feeling nervous wanting to avoid the situation as you don’t want to be mean to the very opposite, you may a bull at a gate and simply rail road all who are in your way. There are however principles to help you deliver it in a way that all parties feel positive. Here are a few key principles;
1. Change the way you think of feedback
Giving feedback is not a negative conversation rather an opportunity for clarity and growth. It is a two way conversation that is not intended as advice nor as a disciplinary conversation, it is a growth conversation.
2. Make it Timely & Seek input
It is important to give feedback as soon as possible after the event. Ideally this will be within 24 hours so both parties will have it fresh in their minds and it is still relevant. Ensure you ask for their input and allow them time to talk uninterrupted.
3. Make it precise
Ensure feedback is precise with an example. Vagueness will erode trust and put people into a defensive position. Avoid phrases such as “some times” & “some people”. They will not be open to the essence of what is being delivered as the focus will be on who the “some people” are and therefore no behaviour change.
4. Outcome and next steps
In an effective conversation the person receiving feedback will understand the behaviour that was discussed and the impact it has on the business, team or customer. The last critical element is they are aware of how to change and what that looks like and why.