Wednesday 13 December 2017

How to give feedback people listen to

When we’re at school we accept that we'll be taught things, that we will learn new skills, ideas and concepts from others and that this information will enable us to grow as individuals. Once we join the workforce however, it becomes harder to accept such teachings, advice and guidance from others. As adults, we become naturally defensive and skeptical which makes it difficult for us to take a lot of the feedback we’re given constructively.

In many ways, feedback can be as tough to deliver, as it can to receive. However, if done in a clear and constructive manner – as outlined in this blog article– it’s a great way of helping people realise their true potential.

Two-way is the best way

Nobody likes to be spoken at, so if you really want people to take on board what you have to say you’ve got to at least try and involve them. If you frame the feedback more as a conversation, giving your colleague the opportunity to discuss, question and challenge what you are saying, it will make for a much more collaborative process and one from which you could both learn something. More importantly, it will create a platform from which you can work together to create a way forward.

Prepare to take action

Feedback is not a finite, one-off action, it’s a process. Once you've shared the feedback – and made your colleagues aware of any issues and problems you’ve highlighted – you can’t leave things there. The most important part of the feedback process is what happens afterwards: the steps that you take to support your colleague through any issues identified, the plans you create and the goals you set to improve performance going forward. Use two-way discussion to go over ideas and be open to the suggestions made by your colleagues, so that you can support them however you can.

Review your plans

Make sure that any action plans you create are timely and measureable. All too often, colleagues are given feedback and then left to navigate their progress by themselves. Commit to additional feedback sessions to discuss progression so far and next steps. The way you handle the feedback process will determine how your colleagues will give and receive feedback in the future, so it’s important to get it right.

And don’t forget our three golden rules for sharing feedback – they’re guaranteed to get your message heard!

Be specific

Now’s not the time for beating around the bush. When you give feedback make sure you talk about specific behaviour and specific examples that demonstrate the point you are making.

Be timely

Strike while the iron is hot is a saying that applies when sharing feedback. It’s got to be done while the issues are still front of mind. If you have feedback to give, then just get on and give it.

Be sensitive

Pick a suitable moment to share your feedback. You’ll know when colleagues are open to discussion and times when your feedback will not have the impact you are seeking.