Delivering effective feedback is critical to an individual’s improvement process. Being aware of the different types of feedback and knowing which type to use in a situation, allows you to impact someone in a positive manner. There are numerous situations that require feedback in the workplace. These opportunities range from formal situations, such as: orientation, performance reviews, and career planning, to informal situations, such as: lack of motivation, quality deficiencies, performance issues, and success reinforcement. Feedback may be initiated as a result of an administrative process or an event, opportunity, or incident regarding a task, project, or relationship. Feedback helps us connect our intentions with our behaviors. Without appropriate and timely feedback, others are forced to make assumptions about how they are perceived by other people. This can create risk, misunderstanding, and conflict.
There are four main types of feedback. Supportive feedback reinforces the positive behaviors we observe occurring. Disciplinary feedback is used to change negative or unwanted behavior. Abrasive feedback is criticism or sarcasm that detracts from the goal of changing a behavior. The final type of feedback is Meaningless feedback. Meaningless feedback has little or no value and can give the impression you are not interested in the other person. Stay away from meaningless and abrasive feedback. Instead, focus on reinforcing positive behaviors and changing negative ones by using supportive and disciplinary feedback.
5 Tips that will improve the quality of your feedback.
- Be clear and specific about the behavior, the result, and the intended action.
- Actively involve the other person in the process.
- Describe the positive and negative consequences of the behavior.
- Add depth to the situation by including your personal feelings.
- Focus on future actions and how they will be achieved.
Feedback skills are not inherited; giving proper, useful feedback is a learned skill. Using the five tips listed above will add value to the feedback that you give to others. By increasing the effectiveness of your feedback, you will be able to increase your influence in those individuals receiving the feedback. When you deliver honest, carefully constructed feedback, you add depth to the relationships that you have with individuals. They will clearly understand what you expect from them and what actions they need to take to improve or sustain. This will limit misunderstandings, enabling you avoid unnecessary conflicts.