Have you ever struggled with giving feedback at work?
Honestly, giving and receiving feedback in the workplace is a difficult task, which may even feel very awkward at times.
Regular feedback that is well delivered is the cornerstone of growth and learning for the recipient of the feedback. It’s not acceptable, or fair on the recipient, to wait for an annual performance review to provide positive feedback or constructive criticism. Making time for regular feedback sessions will have a long-term positive impact, the benefits of which will be visible through improved performance, higher engagement, and increased levels of trust.
Low-quality feedback, on the other hand, can damage morale and compromise relationships.
To help you give high-quality, actionable feedback to anyone at your workplace, we have created an easy to follow 5-step process. Let’s get started with the process and then we will wrap it up with an example.
Download a free PDF of the how to give feedback template accompanied with a cheat sheet describing the entire process.
📥 Get access to the feedback template here.
Step 1: Clarify Intent
Why did you decide to give the feedback? What is your purpose behind delivering feedback?
We should provide feedback because we care about the individual and we want them to improve, grow and succeed. The person receiving the feedback must know that it is well-meaning, legitimate, and coming from a place of genuine care.
--> Action: Begin your feedback by expressing your intent and purpose.
Step 2: Provide Context
When and where did the situation take place?
Vague feedback without any context of the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of a particular situation might be perceived as a personal attack or judgement.
Regardless of whether you are giving positive feedback or delivering a tougher message with negative feedback, you should always provide the full context of the situation to make it concrete.
--> Action: Provide context to give directed and concrete feedback.
Step 3: Describe the situation
Can you describe what happened with specific examples?
Lack of detailed explanation of the situation with specific examples will make it challenging for the receiver to interpret the feedback, which may lead to ineffective action.
--> Action: Don’t leave anything open to interpretation by describing the situation using specific examples to ensure that the receiver clearly understands what you are talking about.
Step 4: Give your Opinion
What is your assessment of the situation? What would you have done differently?
The first three steps help us to establish our purpose and the facts associated with the situation without any personal assessment of it.
In Step 4, you provide your honest opinion and assessment of the situation. Your opinion can be established upon facts or on your own perception about the event; however, the essential element is to share a detailed reasoning behind your opinion.
--> Action: Give your honest opinion on the situation.
Step 5: Recommend Next Steps
What is your recommendation for the next steps that the receiver should initiate? Why do you believe that your recommendations are suitable?
A critical feedback with no action plan for the next steps can feel limiting and confusing. Clear outline of your recommendations makes it simple for the receiver to take actionable steps from the feedback process.
Additionally, describing the reasoning behind the proposed next steps will further equip the receiver to get the much-needed insights and feel empowered to make an informed decision on whether or not to follow the recommendations.
--> Action: Present clear recommendations for next steps and explain the reason behind them.
Constructive feedback example
Step 1: Clarifying the intent
"Mike, I want to touch on an opportunity for development for you, which will help you establish stronger relationships with your colleagues and team members and further help you grow as a leader in the company."
Step 2 and 3: Providing the context and describing the situation
"During our previous product session on Tuesday evening, you were regularly on your laptop during Danielle’s presentation and you didn’t engage with any questions or comments at the end of her talk."
Step 4: Giving an opinion on the situation
"In my opinion, your body language made it look like you were totally disengaged and that really impacted Danielle’s flow during the presentation. I thought it was disrespectful that you did not give Danielle your full attention and I could tell that she was getting demoralized whenever she looked at you. It also seemed to me that she skimmed over the last 10 minutes of the presentation just to get it over with."
Step 5: Making a recommendation
"To make sure that you are fully engaged in the presentations in the future, it might be worth considering shutting your laptop during the team presentations and jotting down important points on a paper instead. It’s important that your colleagues feel valued and listened to during our team sessions. Also, I would really recommend that you participate in the discussions after the presentation as your experience of sales will add valuable insights to the product strategy."
Will you provide more feedback to your colleagues?
Building a culture that promotes giving regular feedback is much-needed in order to become a successful company. Although giving high-quality, actionable feedback is difficult, we can use the 5-step process to make it easier. We do hope that this framework on how to give feedback helps you to further grow and succeed.
To take this theory into practice at work, why not download our handy template on how to give feedback. It's a great way to prepare and rehearse your delivery of giving feedback.
📥 Get access to the feedback template here.