As a professional, I love feedback! In addition to being critical to my growth, well-delivered feedback is essential for keeping my team or one of our initiatives on track. Hearing from my client and my team lets me know what is working, as well as what’s not – this, in turn, helps me to hone my skills and grow in my vocation. Unfortunately, I have learned that not everyone likes to give feedback as much as I like to receive it and, although it seems simple enough, giving meaningful feedback can be tricky.
So how can you give feedback that really resonates with the recipient? Here are some practices I employ.
1. Be Intentional
In a recent meeting a peer of mine said, “As humans, our default language is complaining.” Sadly, he’s not wrong; this is especially true when it comes to feedback. It’s not uncommon for the only feedback we give or receive to be of the complaining nature. When we are intentional about our feedback, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to thoughtfully consider what we want to discuss with the recipient.
Schedule time to provide feedback – both positive and negative – on a regular basis.
2. Be Thoughtful
Like anything we do in life, giving meaningful feedback requires preparation. The last thing I want when receiving feedback from someone is a half-baked thought with no specificity or detail.
So, when I am preparing to deliver feedback, I think through examples that support the nature of the feedback I am providing. Instead of telling someone, “You do good work,” supply details about what was good. For example, “The detail you provided in that playbook was excellent. I appreciate the thorough research you conducted to write it.” The difference maker here is the recipient now knows what they did well and can work on repeating the behavior.
3. Be Timely
Let’s be honest, we have all had that interaction where someone is giving you feedback, and throughout the conversation, you learn that the instance in question occurred several weeks beforehand. This is probably the biggest feedback ‘don’t.’
Timely feedback is essential to improving or maintaining performance. By addressing opportunities or successes in a timely fashion, you are allowing the recipient the chance to course-correct or continue the identified behavior. You are doing a huge disservice by waiting to deliver that feedback ‘when you find the chance.’
4. Be Supportive
No matter how intentional, thoughtful, or timely our feedback is, sometimes feedback can be tough to deliver and even more difficult to hear.
When giving feedback, it is important the recipient know you are on their side. Fortunately, if you have taken the time to employ the above practices, the recipient will come to expect feedback from you. This lays the foundation for you to be able to support them along the way. When you have particularly difficult feedback to provide, be sure to ask the recipient how you can help. Assuring them you are willing to come alongside them to make the necessary corrections will give them confidence that your feedback was supportive in nature.
Meaningful feedback plays an important role in the success of an individual, team, project, or organization. By sharpening this skill, we can all contribute to the continual refinement of the people and environments in which we work.
Do you want to continue the discussion on feedback that resonates? Reach out to me to continue the conversation firstname.lastname@example.org.