The ability to deliver effective feedback is an important skill that all leaders should possess and work to improve. Feedback helps solidify relationships and builds trust between individuals. Without appropriate and timely feedback, others are forced to make assumptions about how they are perceived. This can create risk, misunderstanding, and conflict. Learning and cultivating specific skills can greatly improve the feedback that you give. There are three main areas to work on if you want to improve your ability to give feedback.
Think before you give feedback.
Give the right type of feedback.
Deliver the feedback correctly.
1. Think before you give feedback. Take the time to stop and think about what you are about to say to someone. Not only will this stop you from having “knee jerk reactions”, it will also allow you to build a plan for the conversation you are about to have. Be prompt with your feedback and do not allow excess time to pass before you deliver it. Be specific about what needs to be discussed. Develop a plan to keep the discussion on course.
2. Give the right type of feedback. Keep your focus on the behaviors of others and not on their personality or character. Don’t let your feelings and attitude towards someone add to or detract from your feedback. Balance the feedback that you give between the corrective type and the supportive type. Doing this lets people know what they are doing well and what they can try to improve upon. Be clear on your expectations. Set goals and limits on the behaviors and skills that you expect.
3. Deliver the feedback correctly. When delivering feedback, there are many skills that will help communicate your message more effectively. Be yourself. Don’t change who you are when you deliver feedback to someone. Stay calm. Really listen to the other person and don’t overreact to what they say. Use eye contact to show them that you are paying attention and clarify your understanding of what they are telling you. Lastly, share your feelings. Let people know how you connect with the feedback that you are delivering to them.
When your next feedback situation arises, try implementing these skills. You will see the effectiveness of your feedback improve as you improve on the different skills used when delivering feedback. Here is a recap of some helpful feedback skills:
- Before you give feedback, develop a specific plan and be prompt with your delivery.
- The content of the feedback should focus on behaviors and use a balance of corrective and supportive feedback.
- When delivering feedback: be yourself, share your feelings, stay calm, use eye