How often have you heard your friends or colleagues moaning about someone or about something that has happened, but they never actually say anything to that person? It happens all the time and it’s all because people don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or are scared of giving feedback.
Giving feedback is tough, and something I often shy away from, so you are not alone!
Have you had that experience when you think, “I can give feedback,” and you do it, but crash and burn? You don’t get the response that you were hoping for, or nothing changes. You then get discouraged and think, “I am never doing that again!” Don’t worry, this is completely normal.
I work with Situational Leadership® II, so I know very well that when I crash and burn, I am in the D2 stage, where I have low commitment and little competence to give anyone feedback ever again. The only way I am going to move to D3, where I feel more committed and become competent, is if I pick myself up, keep doing it, and ask for a bit of direction and support from people I know are good at giving feedback.
The more positive experiences you have with giving feedback, the more confident you will be, so please don’t shy away from it.
Has this person demonstrated competence in this goal/task before?
Are you giving feedback to someone who has already completed this task or goal perfectly before? Or is this person new to the task or goal? Understanding this first will help you shape your discussion when giving feedback.
Always give feedback about a particular event/situation. Never make it general.
People cannot relate to general. So often in annual reviews, you hear feedback like, “You don’t respond to emails quickly enough”; if your colleague thinks they do reply fast enough, this type of general feedback will get someone’s back up. Instead say, “XYZ client emailed you and requested information concerning their leadership materials; they didn’t receive a response for three days. The consequences of this were their training materials didn’t arrive in time for the workshop.”
Try to give the feedback as quickly as possible.
You give feedback to try to stop mistakes from recurring. The quicker you address the problem, the less likely it is that mistakes will happen in the future. Plus it’s easier for people to embrace if it’s happened recently.
Give feedback from a good place.
When giving feedback, express why you are giving the feedback and how it can help that person in the future. If people see you are trying to help them, you are less likely to be met with resistance.
These are just a few tips I have picked up along the way—there are many more.
I would really like to hear from you about your experiences and tips on giving feedback. Please share your stories!