3 Ways to Give Feedback that Works
Teachers use feedback when they correct our schoolwork. People persist in doing wrong things apart from feedback that works.
Improvement requires feedback.
How to give feedback that works:
#1. Check intentions.
Feedback that works serves the interests of recipients.
Before giving feedback, ask, “How does this feedback serve the best interest of the recipient?”
Wrong motives for giving feedback:
- Frustration with low performance.
- Getting something off your chest.
- Trying to fix people.
- Beating resistance into conformity. Compliance can be coerced, but you can’t force people to change.
Note: If the best interest of an employee doesn’t serve the best interest of your organization, manage them out.
#2. Confirm aspiration.
Feedback for low-aspiration people invites resistance.
Don’t waste your breath giving feedback to people who don’t want it. The issue is aspiration when people don’t want to improve.
Don’t give constructive feedback to:
- People who never make mistakes.
- Employees who accept mediocrity.
Low-aspiration people disrespect feedback. If you don’t know their aspirations, don’t bother giving feedback.
The desire to improve can be fueled, not imposed.
When aspiration is low, give feedback on aspiration. Try using motivational interviewing techniques to expose this issue.
#3. Determine the win.
Before you do anything, make sure you know what success looks like. What will be true if your feedback reaches its goal?
You’d be astonished how busy people can’t describe the win.
- What is the win – in terms of behaviors? If you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter.
- How will you tailor feedback conversations to align with clearly defined wins?
Someone gave you feedback that expanded your perception and energized new performance. Be that for others.
Feedback that works is a gift.
How might leaders give feedback that works?
37% of Managers Don’t Give Positive Feedback – How to Stop Complaining
Clear, loving, and direct feedback is the kindest gift one can offer to another.
I love the line “The desire to improve can be fueled, not imposed.”
The entire article is great.
Section 2 on Confirming Aspiration really resonates with me.
Thanks for kick starting my thinking this morning!
Thanks for the good word, Nik. Life gets better when we embrace what we CAN do and let go of what we can’t.
I try to give feedback using “we” and “us” rather than “you” or “they” whenever possible. I think using “you” can be taken as accusatory rather than conveying a team approach where everyone, to some degree, is responsible for the final product.
Thanks Laurie. Avoiding accusation is important. Feedback isn’t condemning. It’s noticing without judgement.
If you don’t mind me saying, using “you” seems appropriate unless it’s a “we” situation. If you are going to personally get involved in solving an issue, use we. If the other person is going to resolve the issue, use “you”. In those cases, it’s useful to say, “Please let me know how I might help.”
As you can tell, I’m not a fan of using a generic “we”. Just a thought.