Do you dread giving feedback? Our Lead Facilitator has a few helpful tips...

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Difficult Conversations’ Co-Founder & Lead Facilitator, JJ Nadicksbernd offers 5 Tips on giving Effective Feedback.

Do you ever dread giving feedback to someone?  Maybe you would rather give the task to someone else or avoid it all together? 

Many of us can relate to such feelings.  We know however that giving feedback is often essential and evidence has shown that when done well, the result can be positive for both parties.  Here are some tips, that I hope will prove helpful, to consider when giving effective feedback:

  1. Feedback needs to focus on a behaviour or task, not on the individual as a person.  Take the personal out of the equation (even if the person drives you nuts!).  No one likes to be criticised and often criticism evokes the flight or fight instinct, which often does not help the situation.  If you can focus on the issue at hand, often the person feels less threatened and able listen.  More often than not, the person is then better able to understand what is required for change
  2. The feedback itself needs to be specific.  Here is often when we run into trouble and give generalisations.  For example, telling him you think he is lazy, doesn’t actually tell him what he is doing wrong.  Specific details help us to be clear on what the problem really is and allows the recipient to focus on it directly.  Otherwise, there is often the problem with “fluff” (you know, the walk around the block, the beating around the bush), getting in the way which distorts the actual feedback you want to give
  3. Give feedback in a timely manner.  If we wait too long, the details get fuzzy.  Also, there is more time for the behavior to continue!  Tackling the issue soon after it happens helps you both remember the details of the event and facilitates giving specifics
  4. Make the feedback constructive and leave judgement out of it.  Otherwise the feedback may come across as an attack, which again triggers the flight or fight reaction
  5. Make a plan together.  Just telling the person to change doesn’t mean it will happen.  Success if much higher if you discuss ways how this behaviour can change together.  Allow the individual to come up with ideas first, then ask if you can provide some recommendations if needed