The ability to effectively give constructive feedback that is HEARD and then ACTED UPON is a key skill for leaders at all levels.
Constructive Feedback – Definition:
- Communication that brings to an individual’s attention an area in which their performance could improve, in a manner that helps the individual understand and internalize the information
- A tool that is used to build things up, NOT break things down. It lets the other person know that you are on their side
Some situations the require giving constructive feedback include:
- Ongoing performance discussions
- Following up on coaching discussions
- Helping someone improve their effectiveness
- Giving corrective guidance
- Letting someone know the consequences of their behavior
Two Keys to Giving Effective Constructive Feedback:
- Give it privately … in your office, in their office or in a neutral, private location.
- De-personalize the feedback … focus on the behavior that needs to be adjusted and NOT the person; paint a clear picture of the desired outcome.
- Avoid judging the behavior; instead focus on describing the behavior.
- Be as specific as possible in describing the behavior and include actual examples, particularly those you have personally observed.
- Focus on what you observed and avoid assumptions and interpretations.
Six Steps for Giving Constructive Feedback:
- Purpose – State the constructive PURPOSE of your feedback … talk about what you’d like to cover and WHY it’s important.
- Observations – Describe specifically what YOU have observed … avoid vague and extreme terminology such as … “you always …” – “you never …”
- Emphasize Impact – Describe the consequences … explain how others are impacted or affected or how specific outcomes are affected.
- Invite a Response – Allow space for response or ASK for a response (“what do you think” … “what is your perspective on the situation”) … and give the other person an opportunity to respond to the feedback. Pause, and give them your full attention; listen carefully to their response.
- Develop Solutions – Ask THEM how it could have been handled differently OR be prepared to offer suggestions.
- Recap and Call to Action – Discuss examples. – Summarize and confirm your support … review the major points, confirm action commitments and next steps, and let them know you’re confident they can improve.
If you can’t think of a constructive purpose for giving feedback … don’t give it at all.
How well do YOU give constructive feedback?
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