Have you ever found yourself needing to give feedback to a coworker, but you weren’t sure how? I’m new to this whole feedback thing, and it’s not natural for me. In fact, giving honest feedback is downright scary. The good news is that, with help from my team, I’ve learned some tips about giving feedback in an honest, helpful and respectful way.
Figure out your truth. Feedback is already tricky, so there is no room for BS! Remember that your version of the truth is just that – only your perspective, not the whole picture.
Make your feedback constructive. Feedback can be a great tool for self improvement IF it is given in the right way. Telling people that what they did was idiotic is probably not the best way to reach them.
Give as much positive feedback as negative feedback. I know that if I am getting some feedback and all of it sounds pretty negative, I’m going to walk away discouraged and I most likely won’t hear all of what you had to say. If got just as much positive feedback as I did negative, I would be more likely to hear the total message and be willing to work to improve.
Make sure that you create a safe space. If the recipient doesn’t feel safe, they won’t be as receptive to what you have to say. This means both physical and emotional safety. Make sure you have some privacy, be prepared to listen well and offer to take a break if needed.
Let them take ownership. Start by asking questions, like, “how do you think you did on this?” This gives them a chance to own their shortcomings, so they will be more likely to acknowledge them and commit to improve.
Timing is important! Don’t wait a couple of months to give feedback. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone all of the details of a project I worked on last month. Feedback needs to be immediate, so that they can see the changes that they need to make, not spend their time trying to remember what you’re even talking about.
See? Giving feedback isn’t so scary after all! If you follow these tips, I bet it won’t be so intimidating for the recipient either. Now, go and make the world better by giving some wonderful feedback!
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