The trouble here is inconsistency. Ever been asked “Would you like some Feedback?”…and felt a sense of trepidation; a sense of being uncomfortable because criticism was just round the corner?

It need not be like that and you, as boss, leader, manager, supervisor, whatever, can make it different.

“There is no failure; there is only feedback.”

Richard Bandler

It depends on how you see it. Some people see that something which has gone wrong is irrevocably down to them and see themselves as failures. Others look for what they can do differently next time to create value in the experience. Yes, you can help.

Building confidence in a safe environment is the very best gift you can give to your people. Bottom line. This one act will be the most valuable thing you do for them, for your business or organisation and indeed yourself. That is why great feedback is so important.

Top Ten Things About Feedback

Feedback is a fabulous tool, which when used well, can significantly leverage the abilities, both already demonstrated and latent, in your people. This is a skill that can be developed and become such a positive asset to have in your toolkit.

The best at Feedback

  1. Consistently Give It
    They make sure that giving and receiving Feedback is regular and consistent throughout their team. This creates an expectation that it will happen – and it does.
  2. Accept It
    They model it themselves and ask for it as well. So, by accepting Feedback themselves they lead by example. This encourages others to become involved.
  3. See it as a Gift
    Rather than a chore or ‘difficult’, they see feeding back as a positive act, benefiting the recipient, the business and themselves.
  4. Never Criticise
    Feeding back takes a shape as follows:-

    • What was good about what happened?
    • What might you want to do differently next time?

    Both asked of the recipient first. Then the giver offers his or her view on the same two questions. In that order it gives time for the recipient to recognise the performance themselves, which is much stronger than just ‘being told’.

  5. Look to the Future
    By regarding the differences for the ‘next time’ people great at feeding back line up their people with a new opportunity, building confidence and registering the changes in the moment.
  6. Use Constructive Words
    Rarely will those skilled at giving Feedback use negatives in their language. They find ways of saying things which concentrate on positives, yet get the message across.
  7. Deliver Promptly
    The best time is in the moment, at the time or as close to is as possible. The best at Feedback never leave it any longer than necessary.
  8. Question
    They ask questions with ease – there is no falseness, nor discomfort. Indeed the use of this questioning skill binds the relationships they are so good at making.
  9. Enable Others
    Because there is a such a strong and supportive culture, the process begins an upward spiral of performance in the team. Indeed, in full swing, self-feedback becomes the norm!
  10. Provide Support
    Once they have a process for feeding back naturally established, there is a new way forward. They are able to create interlinked supportive structures for all of their team members – including themselves.

Ten Ways to be Better at Feedback

  1. Tell Them
    It can be a bit daunting when the boss starts feeding back all of a sudden. So work on it together. Announce it as an activity that will evolve and become ‘the way we do things around here’.
  2. Practice
    As you work on this together, you will need to create opportunities to practice safely. so set up things – say, like Feedback on meeting behaviours, as an example. Make time for it as a priority.
  3. Start Small
    To show how it’s done, make sure the rules of the game are explained – keep it a safe place and work up from simple, fun things to more contentious issues.
  4. Be a Model
    You may wish to be the guinea-pig to start the ball rolling. Grit your teeth. Have the courage – be the lead in this. That is your role and help them follow you. Your response has to be very accepting and not apologising, blaming or making excuses. This is really, really vital.
  5. Use the Model
    By working with the :-

    • What was good about what happened?
    • What might you want to do differently next time?

    …model, both asked of the recipient first, you keep it safe. Keep the questions in order.

  6. Be Regular
    Create a process in your business which you do at every opportunity – even for little, frivolous things. But do it. Have some fun with it.
  7. Urgency
    When using Feedback, make sure the timescale fits just right. Unless circumstances become very open, which takes time,keep it private, but keep it snappy. Late, is way too late and indeed can be worse than not at all. “Remember three weeks last Friday, I want to give you some feedback…” – ain’t going to work.
  8. Help with Resources
    When issues are raised during Feedback
    that need extra help – ensure it is available when the recipient wants it. Progress isn’t possible without a smooth path forwards.
  9. Watch Out
    Sometimes it becomes apparent that there is a deeper issue. Now really is the time to be sensitive and listen. Often ‘being heard’ is all that is needed – so be there for them.
  10. Say Thank You
    Treat the giver as a supportive, honest and brave developer of your performance and career. It can be scary, giving Feedback (especially upwards). So be encouraging! Thank them!

5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!

  • Set up the start of a process in your team. make the time for
    the communication and, where it is useful, private, one-to-one sessions at first.
  • Offer it today, with an explanation, so that you don’t appear to pick on people out of the blue – remember, up to now, such feeding back has been experienced as a criticism!
  • Work out with our team how you can set up regular practice – discuss the value
    and the pitfalls you will face.
  • Lead from the front – ask for Feedback yourself – in the right format.
  • Share your experiences with your peers; other colleagues; friends; watch for
    the significant progress this will bring.

Read some great books like:-

“Constructive Feedback (Management Shapers)” – Frances Bee, Roland Bee
“Fast Feedback” – Bruce Tulgan
“Fierce Conversations” – Susan Scott