How to give feedback without falling out
Giving feedback is an essential skill for managers and coaches, so here’s how to do it effectively and simply.
We call this feedback planning tool “your new best friend” – you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it!
Let’s imagine you need to give some feedback to a team member about their punctuality.
Firstly, be very clear about what is is they have done, or are doing, and back it up with a specific example, or piece of evidence:
- is this something you want them to continue to do, i.e. you want to reinforce this behaviour, or
- something you want them to do differently, i.e. you want to change this behaviour, going forward.
Wherever possible, use an example which you have personally seen or heard. It has much more credibility if you speak from “I” . Keep your language neutral and objective.
Let’s say that they regularly arrive late for work, so you need to start by describing the action you have seen:
“Start time is 9am, and I have noticed that you have arrived at 9.15 on 3 occasions this week”
This is the element which is most frequently missed out, and yet it is the element which is crucially important.
Clearly describe the impact of effect of their behaviour, either on
- themselves and their reputation.
- the team and their colleagues.
- the business and the achievement of goals and targets.
Choose the impact which you think will strike the biggest chord with them, and have the most resonance.
“ When you arrive late, …
- impact 1… people do notice, and it means that people may think negatively about you and doubt your commitment,” or…
- impact 2, it means that your colleagues have to cover for you, answering your phone or explaining why you aren’t at your desk, and this causes bad feeling in the team”, or
- impact 3, it means that our customers may see that we aren’t ready for business and this may harm our reputation”
Here’s an example of the impact when delivering some motivational feedback, which you want them to continue…
ACTION: “Start time is 9am and I have noticed that you are regularly on time, and even arrive early on many occasions.”
IWPACT: “When you consistently arrive on time, it creates an excellent impression, sets a great example to your colleagues and it means that you are always ready to start work punctually, without stress or pressure.”
Finish the feedback by stating your expectation in the future, and describing what you would like them to do, going forward.
“So, thank you for your regular punctuality. That is exactly what we are looking for, so please carry on with this excellent record, as it makes a huge contribution to the team’s high performance”
“So, in future, it is really important that you arrive on time. Please remember that I need you to be here every day ready to start work at 9am”
In summary, follow this 3 stage structure, AID, when giving motivational and developmental feedback .
Action – describe what they have done or said
Impact – describe the impact or effect of their behaviour
Desire – clearly state what you would like them to do going forward.
Good luck, and enjoy getting to know your new best friend!
to download our free Feedback Planner document