Whether in your work or personal life, good feedback is important to make everyone involved more self-aware. Self-awareness enables individuals to understand their strengths and weaknesses and work on addressing them accordingly.
Giving feedback can be a sensitive area. And giving good feedback can be tricky. Feedback for feedback’s sake should not be the goal. Feedback that is actually helpful to all parties is key.
Thankfully, it is possible to transform the quality of your feedback and ensure the individual receives the correct message. In this article, we’ll focus on feedback within a work environment.
What Constitutes Good Feedback?
Feedback can be positive or negative. But what is good feedback?
Feedback becomes good when it relays your intended message—whether positive or negative—in a respectful manner. You can identify good feedback when it possesses the following qualities.
Good feedback is clear in its message.
What is it you’re trying to convey to the receiver with your feedback? How excellent or mediocre was the receiver’s performance? Was there any gap between expected standards and delivered results?
Good feedback encourages the recipient to self-assess and introspect.
Good feedback does not deliver a judgment regarding the performance of the recipient. Instead, it gently prods the individual to self-assess his/her work, compare it with expected standards, and reach a reasonable conclusion.
Good feedback is timely, comprehensive, and informative.
The purpose of good feedback is to motivate the recipient to grow. Leaders deliver good feedback immediately after a project. This way, recipients can rectify their mistakes or add more value to the task with their strengths.
Good feedback does not focus only on highlighting the strengths and weaknesses. It goes beyond that and informs team members how they can progress to expected organizational standards.
Good feedback also informs the recipient about opportunities accessible to him/her to achieve desired standards.
Good feedback serves as a motivational tool.
Good feedback does not erode the self-esteem of the recipient. It encourages them to feel positive about their work and performance and increases their self-confidence as well.
Good feedback achieves this objective by focusing more on the learning goals of the recipient than his/her performance.
Good feedback does not end with you communicating your message.
It is complete only with two-way dialogue. Good feedback encourages the recipient to put their perspective forward regarding your assessment of their performance.
Good feedback gives you insights into the challenges influencing your team’s performance. With team inputs, you can restructure your feedback to focus on aspects that are more reflective of your team’s performance.
Why Is Good Feedback Important?
- Encourages better performance and quicker skill development
- Appreciates true merit
- Makes organizational goals clear to employees
- Boosts employee morale and self-confidence
- Serves as motivation for change
- Helps identify minor work issues before they escalate into major problems
- Demonstrates the most efficient way to communicate with others
- Facilitates continuous learning
- Enables the management to understand its workforce
- Enables recipients to not only reach but also expand their potential
- Transforms feedback givers into better leaders
Feedback becomes good when it relays your intended message—whether positive or negative—in a respectful manner.
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5 Tips for Giving Good Feedback
Given the significance of good feedback and the sensitiveness of the process, it’s important to prepare yourself to ensure that your feedback is constructive. Here are five tips to ensure that your feedback helps you achieve intended results.
1. Be Professional in your Approach
Your feedback may be clear, respectful, and adhere to all the requirements needed for good feedback. But your rapport with the receiver is crucial for the feedback to make the right impact.
If you have a buddy-level rapport with the receiver, then you can expect the feedback to deliver intended results. If not, then it is best to create a comfort zone where the receiver will feel safe, not intimidated.
Maintain a cordial tone throughout your feedback. Refrain from using words that can make the recipient feel humiliated or stupid.
2. Make Feedback Specific
“You need to be more open with your ideas” is generic. When you put it as “Your project idea was intuitive and effective, and the client was happy. I would like to listen to more ideas from you. You can send an email with your inputs every week.”
A generic statement can put the recipient on the defensive and negate the impact of your message.
A specific statement delivers appreciation for a job well done and subtly conveys your expectations of the recipient.
3. Deliver Negative Aspects in a Positive Spirit
When put bluntly, even good feedback can backfire. The recipient may not take it in the intended spirit. Giving negative feedback is crucial to progress. But it is not necessary to make the person feel bad while doing so.
You can be firm in your negative feedback without being nasty in the following ways:
- Share the reason for making the negative statement. When the recipient understands the reason, he/she may be more open to your feedback. Start with phrases such as “I need to share that….” and “My intent here is to…”
- Make thoughtful use of words. Limit sentences starting with “you”. Focus more on saying “I feel…”
“I feel working toward better time management would make your deliveries more valuable.” delivers a better impact than “You never deliver on time.”
- Avoid attacking the recipient’s character. For example, “You are rude” is going to put the recipient immediately on the defensive. They are more likely to defend their actions than take your advice.
Focus on the recipient’s specific behavior instead.
“I understand your frustration. I think you would have received a faster reply from the customer with positive words.” This statement tells the specific behavior and the issue with it while being empathetic.
4. Avoid a Patronizing or Preaching Tone
Think good feedback is more about you speaking and the other person listening? Not quite.
You could be a more influencing leader with a different mindset. Aim to view feedback as a communication between the recipient and yourself. Be prepared to listen intently to what the other person has to say.
Your goal is to use feedback as a motivation for your team members to move toward a problem-solving mode. This goal cannot be achieved if you adopt a condescending or a “lecture-istic” tone.
When there is communication, the roles are balanced. The recipient does not relegate themselves to the position of a defender.
5. Make Feedback Relevant
Your feedback is relevant only when it’s timely. Feedback is not good or productive when it is delivered months after a job has been well-done or underperformed.
By being relevant, you increase the impact of the feedback. When you deliver feedback after months, your team may or may not remember the specific details. Such directionless feedback loses its purpose and becomes unproductive.
Good feedback has the power to transform individuals with potential into efficient leaders. When delivered with essential respect and care, good feedback can change an employee’s life for the better.
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About the writer
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