Imagine feedback being a gift, a present that you are receiving, and some gifts that you receive are nicely wrapped and they have a bow around them, and others aren’t. But is it really about the outside wrapping that’s important or is it about the content? So, feedback is the content. It might not always be wrapped very nicely, and it might not always have a bow around it, but it’s about the content, which is the intent of the feedback.
Right now, I am hearing many leaders abstaining from giving feedback to their teams because they know their teams are going through challenging times and they are being very empathetic towards them and hoping that when I see them in person, I will provide the feedback. But you can’t wait for that moment because you might not see them in person for a while or never because they are in another geographical region.
Tips when giving feedback to others:
- Don’t use the sandwich approach, which is the positive, the negative, the positive. The reason being that people only hear the end part. They don’t hear the whole process. So really structure your feedback and balance it about the strengths and the stretches if I can call it that. What did they do exceptionally well and what are areas you would like them to improve on? But don’t leave the areas that they need to improve on for them to figure out, do it together, offer support, and find an action plan on how you will measure accountability and by when they will do that. So that is important when it comes to feedback.
- Do the feedback as often as you can. Don’t wait until it’s the performance review process or at the end of the month, do it the minute you see it. However, ask people if they want feedback because they might not want it right then and there. They might need two or three days to just emotionally settle down from an event or an activity that they know they didn’t perform very.
- Always watch your ego. What is your intent behind the feedback? If the focus is always on the individual and that you want to grow them. So as much as it’s uncomfortable to give or sometimes receive feedback, think about it, you are giving somebody a gift and try and wrap it nicely with a bow.
Learn how to use the online digital platforms and become comfortable in giving feedback to others. Remember, feedback is a gift. You are growing the other person. You are highlighting to them what they are not doing well and where you would like them to improve. You are saying to them also, I believe in you. I know you can do better.