Giving feedback is essential for effective communication and performance improvement. Whenever we comment on the actions, behavior or work of others, we give feedback. It helps to make use of the expertise of all involved, to identify mistakes and to make quick course corrections. However, there are certain rules to be followed when giving feedback. Otherwise, it can quickly happen that the other person feels attacked and switches to the justification mode.
Bill Gates, US entrepreneur and programmer once said:
We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve
Follow the following five rules when giving effective feedback:
1. Send I-messages:
When giving feedback, it’s important to be mindful of the language we use. You-messages can come across as accusatory or confrontational, which can make the recipient feel defensive and less receptive to feedback. To avoid this, try using I-messages instead.
I-messages are a way of expressing how you feel about a situation without placing blame on the recipient. They help to create a more collaborative and constructive feedback environment by focusing on the impact of the behavior rather than the behavior itself.
2. Formulate feedback clearly and precisely:
When giving feedback, it’s crucial to remain factual and to clearly communicate the type of feedback you want to give. Be concise and avoid beating around the bush to prevent misunderstandings. Providing clear and precise feedback can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project is on track for success.
3. Show concrete examples/proofs
When providing feedback, it’s crucial to be specific and avoid generalizations. Simply telling someone that they’re being rude doesn’t provide them with actionable steps to change their behavior. Instead, it’s important to clearly state the specific actions or behaviors that were problematic and explain how they impacted you or the group.
To provide effective feedback, refer to observations rather than assumptions, fantasies, or interpretations. For example, instead of saying „You’re always interrupting me and being disrespectful,“ try saying „When you interrupted me during the meeting and spoke over me, it made it difficult for me to share my thoughts and contributed to a negative atmosphere in the group.“
By being specific and using concrete examples, it’s easier for the recipient to understand what they did wrong and how they can improve. This also helps to avoid misunderstandings or assumptions about what the feedback means.
4. Choose the ideal time and place
At the right time or as soon as possible: Feedback is most effective the shorter the time span between the behavior in concern and the information about the effect of the behavior.
5. Formulate a wish for future changes
Clearly formulate your expectations for the future if you want something to change.
By clearly stating your expectations, you’re providing the recipient with a clear goal to work towards and a sense of direction. This can help to motivate them to make the necessary changes and improve their behavior.
Important tips for feedback recipients:
The most important rule is to listen.
Try to learn as much as possible. Listen actively and ask factual questions. Be open and clarify any ambiguities. At the end of the interview, summarize what you have heard. And finally, thank them for their feedback.
The Sandwich Method for Performance Evaluation in the day to day work life
Do you ever find yourself in a position where you need to give someone negative feedback, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings? It can be a delicate situation, but there’s a technique that can make the process smoother for everyone involved: the Sandwich Method.
The Sandwich Method is a feedback approach that consists of three layers: praise, criticism, and praise again. The idea is to start the conversation with positive words to make the person feel good, then provide the negative feedback, and finally, end with more appreciative words to leave them with a positive feeling.
Think of it as a sandwich, where the negative feedback is the cheese and ham, and the positive feedback is the slices of bread that hold everything together. By packaging the negative feedback in between positive comments, the person being criticized is more likely to receive the assessment with an open mind.
The Sandwich Method is not only about creating a pleasant conversation atmosphere, but also about relativizing the negative criticism. By framing the feedback with positive comments, it puts the criticism in context and makes it easier for the person to accept and implement the changes.
Using the Sandwich Method can be a great tool for managers, coaches, and anyone in a leadership position who needs to provide feedback. It can also be useful in personal relationships where you need to address sensitive topics.
In conclusion, the Sandwich Method is a simple yet effective way to give feedback that can be applied in many different contexts. By starting and ending the conversation with positive comments and putting the negative feedback in the middle, it can help create a more constructive dialogue that leaves everyone feeling good. So, next time you need to give someone feedback, consider using the Sandwich Method and see how it can make a difference.