The Art of Giving Feedback

“You have done a great job this year…but if you would have focused on other result oriented areas it would have led to better performance.” As soon as Mr. Roy said this to Mr. Tarak during the performance review discussion, Mr. Tarak started arguing and eventually decided on a silent approach for the remaining discussion. What went wrong in this scenario while giving feedback?

Actually like in a movie, feedback can turn out to be a villain for performance if not handled well or become a hero and save performance if given and taken the right way!

Feedback is a very crucial element for great results and improved performance. Giving and receiving feedback well, both components together, build the required confidence in the individual and the team.

Research shows ‘Receiving feedback and good communication’ was listed as one of the top five factors found to positively influence employees.

Giving feedback is an art that needs to be planned, developed and designed in such a way that it achieves the above to result in high performance. It is most effective when it is a continuous process during the entire year and not a one- time activity during the performance appraisals.

Below points lead to give effective feedback during discussions:

  • What is our objective to give feedback to the concerned person?

Identify our real purpose of existence to align feedback according to the expected results.

  • Plan the feedback

Planning the feedback conversation helps to have a very clear picture of what result you want from the conversation.

Examples include:

  • The standards of performance that need to be attained.
  • Yours or the organization’s expectations of the behaviour change.
  • How continuing the great work can positively impact on other people and projects.

Addressing our fears while planning the feedback:

1. Can we foresee the worst case scenario happening and overcome our fears to some extent?
2. Do we know that employee well to know how will he react to the planned feedback?
3. Can we as a feedback giver put him at ease during the discussion irrespective of the reactions during or after the feedback?

Even during an informal feedback conversation you need to have some idea of the outcome that you are working towards

  • How to start the feedback session:
  • Avoid ‘but’:

‘You are a great worker but…’ When you hear the ‘but’ you’re most likely going to think, if not dread, ‘But what now?’

In the beginning of our article the statement refers to this point, due to which the feedback was received with a negative reaction. If feedback needs to be given then give it, there is no need to sugar-coat the situation and falsely butter someone up before you deliver the feedback.

  • Use supportive and constructive feedback

Give positive, supportive feedback when it’s due. Give corrective feedback when it’s required.

This article gives the broader picture of how feedback is an ongoing process and needs skills to be practiced to lead to desirable behaviours, actions, and outcomes. That’s where the human resources or L& D department come into the picture. They can help you and the team to develop the skills for successful feedback.

Most of the times employees want to know whether they are doing a good job and want to know what is expected of them.

Let feedback become the breakfast of employees to give them the booster they require to accomplish tasks.

References:

  • Foley-Lewis, Sally. Successful Feedback: The one simple formula you need for highly effective feedback.
  • McGovern, Julia. The Happy Employee: 101 Ways for Managers to Attract, Retain, and Inspire the Best and Brightest. Adams Media.
  • Harvard Business Review. HBR’s 10 Must Read on Managing People (with featured article “Leadership That Gets Results,” by Daniel Goleman) (p. 212)