How To Give Effective Feedback

communication skills

Feedback is an exceptionally potent tool often overlooked in the modern corporate world. Its benefits are many, ranging from enhancing performance and cultivating talent to aligning expectations, resolving issues, and even bolstering profitability. Feedback plays a pivotal role in individual growth and, as a result, managers need to know how to give effective feedback.

However, many managers grapple with the confidence to provide constructive criticism. Effective feedback fosters development by nurturing self-awareness, which is a critical step towards professional growth. There are numerous strategies every leader can employ to equip their employees with the knowledge they need to succeed.

Creating a Conducive Feedback Environment

The initial step towards successful feedback delivery is fostering a collaborative atmosphere where feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Leaders can endorse a feedback-friendly culture by acknowledging their own mistakes, soliciting feedback, and respecting the collective wisdom of the team. Moreover, leaders should invest time in understanding each team member on a personal level, thereby cultivating a trust-infused, open environment.

Feedback shouldn’t be a sporadic occurrence but a routine aspect of weekly discussions. Its effectiveness amplifies when it’s part of an ongoing process rather than an annual or biannual formal performance appraisal. Regular feedback familiarizes team members with constructive criticism, thereby diminishing defensive responses.

Delivering Effective Feedback

Feedback should be specific and outcome-focused. When it’s presented as a tool to foster success, it’s perceived as a instrument for continuous improvement rather than personal criticism. Specific, quantifiable feedback provides employees with actionable insights for professional development. An effective manager further enriches the feedback process by inviting the receiver to share their perspective on the situation and to evaluate their own performance. This approach renders the feedback more interactive, engaging, and enlightening.

Managing Defensive Reactions

Receiving critical feedback can sometimes trigger defensive responses. To mitigate potential defensiveness, underscore the value and purpose of feedback at the outset. Ensure that the receiver understands feedback as a fundamental aspect of the team culture rather than a personal attack. As the receiver appreciates the significance of feedback and its relevance to the team, the likelihood of a negative response diminishes.

Nevertheless, it’s possible that the receiver may disagree with the feedback. In such cases, encourage them to seek further clarification to comprehend the communicated message better. This is where a 360 degree survey can come in handy in order to give the recipient multiple perspectives. Take a look at some of our options.

Following-up on the Feedback

After the feedback is delivered, monitor any changes in the discussed behavior. Follow-ups convey to your team that your feedback is intentional and aimed at improving performance. During these follow-ups, it might be beneficial to seek feedback on your own feedback delivery. Inquiring whether the conversation was helpful and how it could be improved turns the experience into a developmental opportunity for both the feedback giver and receiver.

Providing feedback can be challenging and occasionally met with resistance. Its underutilization often stems from discomfort associated with the process. However, given its integral role in personal and professional growth, it’s imperative that supervisors know how to give effective feedback.