Written by: Sally Foley-Lewis
Right at the moment you give someone feedback, often the last thing you’re thinking of is how you would feel if you received this information in the way it is being delivered.
Safety in giving quality feedback means first starting with how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of it: private, behavior-focused, supportive, solution-to-action-focused!
1. What is Quality Feedback?
Think of the last time you received feedback:
- Was it a bit tough to hear?
- Was it a bit rough and rude?
- Was it constructive and supportive?
- Was it private or in front of the team?
Can you pinpoint what worked well and what didn’t go so well?
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2. Let’s see if we can list some here:
Feedback is given in order to improve a process or outcome, or encourage the continuation of a positive behavior. Quality feedback is delivered – actually it’s more like facilitated – in such a way as to achieve this. Managers need to, first, be clear about what feedback they want or need to give. Maybe start by asking yourself, what is it that I want to achieve by giving the feedback (outcome focused)?
During a feedback skills workshop, Ahmed realized that he had been giving feedback in all the wrong ways. He may have been a bit tough on himself, but I do credit him for realizing that he’s jumped into feedback conversations while still frustrated or angry which led him to berate rather than have a conversation. He also admitted to liking the sound of his own voice and the level of authority he can hear in his tone. It came as no surprise that he could connect high staff turnover to his own performance of managing and leading his team.
When feedback is required, consider the place, words, tone and context in which to deliver the feedback. If you are angry or frustrated, that’s your cue to keep your mouth shut and focus on calming down first.
This is a helpful slogan:
Emotion High = Logic Low
Calm High = Logic High
Even if a manager doesn’t care what the employee thinks or how they feel, poor feedback continually given leads to, or at least contributes to toxic culture, low staff morale, decrease in productivity, and increased staff turnover.
3. Here’s your quick quality feedback checklist:
- Solutions and behavior focused and not a personal attack
- Done in an appropriate place
- Allows for open honest two-way communication
- Based on respect
Start with this checklist and above all else start being calm and with a mindset of being helpful.