Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some more feedback about feedback.

Post 442 - Dick Cavett once remarked that "It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear." Yet, giving and getting feedback plays a key role in open communication. It's a way of seeing the impact on another of what we say or do. Learning about how we come across to others can help us choose alternative ways of behaving. Negative feedback can be destructive and encourage defensiveness.

Feedback is constructive if:

- it's asked for rather than imposed.

- it's well timed. Feedback is most often useful when it's given immediately after the incident in question. However, it's best to wait if the recipients are angry, confused, upset or defensive and not inclined to listen.

- it's not saved up and given all at once. This is usually accompanied by a buildup of feeling that's hard to separate from the message.

- it's checked to ensure accuracy and clarity.

- it's validity is checked against the perception of others.

- it's intended to be helpful to the recipients and meets their needs rather than just the needs of the person giving the feedback.

- it's specific rather than general. Examples of specific statements and behaviors are most useful.

- it leaves the recipients free to do whatever they want with it.

- it describes the recipient's behavior and its impact on others without making any judgments about them as a person.

- it's given in a climate of trust with a feeling of caring and support.

- it focuses on issues the recipient can do something about.

- if it's negative, it's proceeded by positive feedback.

- it's best received non defensively. A good rule of thumb is when receiving feedback, ask only clarifying questions.

- the recipients have an opportunity to say what they think and feel about the feedback when it's all over.

Don't assume your high performers know how good they are. Instead, use these tips to give them the feedback they want and deserve:

1. Identify development areas.
There may only be a few and you may need to work hard to identify and articulate them, but help your stars understand what they can get better at.

2. Show your appreciation.
Failing to say thank you is a simple and common mistake. Your star performers need feedback and praise just as much as everyone else.

3. Give feedback often.
Don't wait for review time. High performers thrive off feedback and if you have some working for you, it's your job to give it frequently.

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid," according to the Bible, Proverbs 12:1

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