I find it fascinating to notice themes emerging from individual and totally separate coaching clients. Over the last week a common theme has been giving feedback.
It seems that many of us dislike giving feedback even more than we dislike receiving it, so what is it that prevents us from giving honest and constructive comments?
Here are some of the fears that clients have shared with me:
- Fear of upsetting the other person
- Fear of creating an atmosphere
- Fear of retaliation
- Fear of destroying a relationship
- Fear of losing control
When communicated in the right way, giving constructive feedback is a powerful way of improving relationships, performance and productivity.
Here are some top tips:
- Recognise your reasons for giving feedback, and share if appropriate
- Be clear on what outcome you want as a result of giving feedback, i.e. change in behaviour, motivation, specific results.
- Balance your feedback with positive as well as constructive comments
- Check out any assumptions you may have i.e. don’t try to prove that you’re right
- Ensure that you challenge a person’s behaviour, not their identity
- Avoid blaming, labelling or generalising i.e. ‘you always’ or ‘you never’
- Be specific when delivering positive as well as negative feedback
- Avoid using the word ‘but’ after giving positive feedback, this negates the position
Ensure that your feedback is
- Legal – you have the right or agreement to deliver the feedback
- Decent – respects the individual
- Truthful – tell the simple truth
- Honest – based on the facts, complete and unembellished
End the conversation on a positive note. And remember, some feedback is better than no feedback