The HOW is so important for the feedback to be perceived as genuine and constructive. You know what it feels like if someone gives you a beautifully wrapped, timely, perfect-for-your birthday present versus someone just tossing you a creased card a day late that they bought at the corner shop.
- Give the feedback as close to the action/behaviour observed as possible.
- Give feedback daily, don’t wait for performance reviews or “extreme situations”.
- Give positive feedback in public (praise in public).
- Give negative/constructive feedback in private (punish in private).
- Speak slowly and clearly, being as specific as possible. Pause after each step of the model.
- Use the minimum number of words possible. More detracts from the clarity of the message.
- Check for comprehension, that they understand what you have said. Ask them “what clarification can I provide?” or “what would you like me to repeat to ensure I’ve been clear?” or “what’s your understanding of what I said?”
- Look them in the eye (softly, not laser-like) and smile (just look engaged and present).
- Be patient with yourself and the recipient.
- Have the intention of being of service to that person, of giving them a gift, of wanting them to grow and develop (versus “given feedback done”) have it come from your heart rather than just your head.
- Just as you are free to give feedback the person to whom you are giving it is free to listen, adopt, adapt or reject what you have said. Don’t assume and don’t expect!
- If it is difficult feedback, give the person some time and space to digest it. Say “I sense you might need time to process/digest/think about what I said. Let’s meet tomorrow to talk about it again.”
How will you practice the HOW of giving feedback?