I have recently had a number of conversations about feedback and why it might not be working in all situations. Thankfully, I had the support of a friendly coach to help me diagnose what was going on in the dynamic. To get started, we decided to go back to the fundamentals of feedback. Surprisingly, we found some helpful truths. As we build an organization committed to strong feedback, there will always be challenges to work through. Yet, the ability to successfully give and receive feedback will make an organization strong. Therefore, perfecting the feedback process is important. Here are some feedback tips we found particularly helpful:
Give Feedback with the Right “Heart”
The reason we offer feedback is because we care enough for the other person that we want them to grow, improve, and find more success. If we are simply offering it to be right, truthful, or on higher ground, we are missing the point. People will sense a lack of authenticity right away, the message won’t be heard, and we will have ultimately wasted our time. Additionally, we may end up damaging the relationship.
Give Feedback with Skill
How we share feedback with people makes a huge difference in how far the gift of feedback will go. We all need to practice, to grow in our skills at offering feedback. Asking permission to give someone else feedback is a powerful way to show respect and make it count. For instance you might say, “Can I offer you some feedback on what I saw today?” Another simple technique I learned from a speaker just today was, build some scripted words for yourself and practice using them regularly. This reduces the barrier for getting it out and also sets it up to be received better. As an example, you could say, “I think you might be even more effective with X if you tried A, B, or C.” This gives the recipient the knowledge that you already believe they are effective and that your feedback is about getting even better.
Give a Proper Ratio of Plus/Delta Feedback in Areas that Matter
In a feedback-rich environment, it is important to use feedback where it matters most and let the little stuff go. In addition, our ratio of plus feedback to delta feedback should be 4 to 1. That’s 4 plus to 1 delta. Hitting this ratio can be challenging, but it will be more impactful.
Try these three tips the next time you give someone feedback. Remember, we also have a responsibility to receive feedback well. Being comfortable receiving feedback takes some skill building as well. We need to take feedback with heart. We also need to understand that those who give us feedback are taking a risk to offer a gift that can help us reach our maximum potential. Believing in the best of people when working on both sides of the feedback loop can make our teams, stronger, better, and more resilient.
How healthy are your feedback skills and heart? Share your thoughts in the comments.
This blog post was written by Dave Crumrine.