mastering effective feedback

Giving feedback can be uncomfortable, and if you feel that way, you're not alone. Recent studies show that 44 percent of managers find delivering negative feedback stressful, and 21 percent admit to avoiding it altogether.

However, avoiding feedback means missing out on valuable learning opportunities for both you and your colleagues. Research shows that employees prefer receiving criticism to no feedback at all because it helps them know how to improve.

To give feedback effectively, it's essential to practice. Ignoring feedback now might make future conversations even more challenging. That's why it's crucial to guide your colleagues in the moment.

If you're unsure or nervous about giving feedback, here's a guide on how to do it more effectively.

guide to effective feedback

- practice empathy

Recognize that receiving feedback can be uncomfortable. Put yourself in your colleagues' shoes to understand their perspective and experiences. Demonstrating empathy in your message helps employees see the critique as constructive, conveying your desire for their success. Creating an atmosphere of support makes it easier for them to absorb and act on your advice.

- plan ahead

Before giving feedback, carefully consider what you want to convey and how to express it. Adjust your tone based on factors like your employee's work ethic and intentions. If addressing performance concerns, a warmer tone might be suitable for someone who works hard but struggles. Rehearse your feedback, anticipate potential reactions, and be ready with responses. Adequate preparation reduces the likelihood of rushing through the feedback session.

- be specific in your communication

When providing feedback;

  • Directly address the coaching issue.

  • Specify the behavior causing concern instead of using generalities.

  • Explain the impact of the problematic behavior, connecting it to consequences.

  • Provide details about who was affected, emphasizing the impact on both the organization and the individual's career.

- allocate time for inquiry

Integrate inquiry into the conversation, either at the beginning or end. Starting with questions about the recipient's perspective can help them identify issues, making it easier to initiate the discussion. If they don't, it may indicate a blind spot or defensiveness. Concluding the conversation with inquiry ensures understanding, allowing for clarification and solution brainstorming.

- look to the future

After delivering feedback, shift the conversation focus from the past to the future. Instead of revisiting past issues, discuss how the recipient can modify their behavior moving forward. Collaboratively explore ways to overcome future challenges, providing a sense of resolution at the end of the meeting.

- facilitating growth opportunities

While the discussion may feel uneasy, avoiding it isn't the solution. Embracing such conversations not only enhances your leadership skills but also fosters your employees' career development. When your genuine desire for their success is evident, they will appreciate your feedback as well-intentioned guidance.

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