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5 keys to effective feedback

We all talk about the power of giving and receiving feedback in the workplace. But giving feedback is an art that doesn’t automatically come naturally to everyone and, for someone to hear the right message, it needs to be given effectively.

We thought we would share 5 keys to giving effective feedback.

Firstly, make it timely. Spontaneous, on the spot feedback can be super effective, particularly when it is recognition of a job well done. Constructive feedback might need a little more time to frame up in your mind, but still don’t leave it too long. Most employees that we talk to have a consistent mindset around feedback – they tell us ‘if I am doing something wrong, I’d rather know now so that I don’t keep making the same mistake and find out 3 months later’.

Secondly, be real. Most people can tell if a gushing ‘oh my gosh you were just so great at that presentation’ isn’t for real – it’s kind of like the ‘oh that dress is just perfect on you’ comment that the sales person says when you walk out the change room looking like you are wearing a hessian sack! One of the best ways to make sure your feedback is taken as genuine is to be balanced. If you only ever give positive feedback or only ever give negative feedback, the person receiving the feedback has no benchmark for what is genuinely good or bad.

By giving credit when credit is due and suggesting improvements when needed, the receiver places higher significance on your feedback.

Thirdly, if the feedback you are giving is about something not so positive, make sure what you say is constructive. Getting personal won’t help. Focusing on the facts and why you need to give the feedback will help. Help the person you are giving feedback to, to start to consider how to make improvements. Once they know what they need to work on, move them quickly into the problem-solving thinking of what to change.

Fourthly – remember that everyone needs feedback – your team, your peers and even your boss. Just because someone is on the same level as you or above you, doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t value genuine feedback from you when it is delivered in the right way.

And last but most certainly not least – give feedback from what we call ‘a place of support’ – what we mean by that is that if you give feedback and you do so when you are in the frame of mind that ‘I am doing this to support and respect this person’, then you are most likely to deliver it in the right way and get the best outcome.

If you can implement these 5 keys to effective feedback, you will create an environment where people welcome, value and receive feedback in a positive way with a focus on improving.

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