5 tips for giving more effective feedback to staff

The ability to give and receive feedback effectively is an extremely important skill for any Manager or Leader. This article will focus on 5 different ways Managers can give more effective feedback to their staff:

5 tips for giving more effective feedback to staff
5 tips for giving more effective feedback to staff
 Ask before giving feedback

 Some Managers are worried about offending their subordinates when giving feedback so they procrastinate feedback conversations or don’t prioritise them. Instead of rushing a feedback conversation and directly giving a team member negative feedback a good technique is to ask the person if they mind you giving them some feedback.

For example you might simply ask: “ Can I give you some feedback about the report you wrote? “ or “ are you happy for me to give you some feedback about the report that you wrote? “

Usually the other person will reply “ yes “ and they will be more willing to receive some feedback than if you directly give them negative feedback.

Don’t judge just describe  

When giving feedback it is important to not judge the behaviour of the other person as this could cause them to be defensive. Simply describe the behaviour you observed and also the impact that it had on you or the team. A simple but powerful model is the SBI method. Explain the situation, describe the behaviour that you observed and outline the impact that it had.

After using the SBI model to give feedback it is a good idea is to ask the other person an open question such as “ what are your thoughts about this? “ 

Don’t only give negative feedback 

Be careful to not only give negative or constructive feedback to your team as no one likes to be criticised all the time.

Heaphy and Losada found in their research with 50,000 Managers what was the ideal ratio of positive to negative comments. For example positive comments might include (“I agree with that,” for instance, or “That’s a terrific idea”) to negative comments (“I don’t agree with you” “We shouldn’t even consider doing that”) that the participants made to one another. (Negative comments, could go as far as sarcastic or disparaging remarks.) The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one).

Describe the value of feedback

If your team are not familiar with the value of getting feedback to help them improve you could talk about how feedback has benefited you in your career. As the say goes “ don’t just tell, sell. “ This will increase the chances that the other person will be more willing to accept your feedback without being defensive.

Avoid using “but, always, never”

When giving feedback some Managers first give a compliment (positive feedback) and then give constructive (negative) feedback. This a great method, however after giving the positive feedback some people risk ruining the conversation by saying “ but “ before giving the constructive comments. This can give the other person the impression that the constructive feedback was not sincere.

Likewise, if you use the words “ always “ or “ never “ when giving feedback the other person might feel you are attacking them. For example “ why do you always arrive late for work? “ 

If you want to improve the feedback as well as other skills of your Managers why not send them on one of our professional development courses so they can learn and practice the skills to both give and receive feedback.

The Power of Feedback