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By Maria Lahiffe
Most of us would rather have a root canal than give or receive feedback at work.
It’s not surprising, since when feedback is given poorly, it can be insulting   and confusing , resulting in a demoralized team  and diminished performance .
It is also one of the most important things you can do for the people who work with you. Done well, feedback can foster learning , help people thrive and excel , and boost engagement .
Let’s look at how to give feedback well.
Focus in on specific behaviours instead of vague generalities. Offer data and examples as much as possible. Here are some examples  :
As you can see from the examples, the specific feedback was actionable. The people receiving the feedback know exactly want to change, and what to keep on doing the same.
Research shows that team members react up to six times more strongly to negative comments than positive ones.  This means that you need to ensure that you have at least 6 positive interactions with someone before you even think about pointing out a way in which they need to improve.
Focusing on the positive also means couching feedback in positive, actionable terms instead of negative. For example :
Some people advise giving a “feedback sandwich”: say something positive, something negative, then finish with something positive. Numerous studies have shown that this is ineffective.  Here are a few reasons why:
A much more useful way to structure feedback is
Don’t wait to give feedback. People need to know right away what they are doing right or how they need to do something differently.
The exception to this rule is if something has upset you. Always, always give feedback when you are in the headspace to be fair, objective, and kind. If you are not in that headspace, take a walk, do a short meditation, or whatever you need to do to calm down.
As important as it is to prepare your thoughts before any review meeting, it is critical to let your team member speak first. This will give you a sense of how they perceive their performance, which will help you know the best way to phrase your feedback, to make it useful.
Also, when you have established what it is that the person needs to improve on, take the time to ask what you *both* can do to facilitate that improvement. The person may need clearer direction from you, or perhaps they are making mistakes because the lighting is too dim or because they are in a noisy place with too many distractions. Your team member is the best qualified to tell you how they work best.
Generally speaking, it is fine to share positive feedback anywhere, including in front of other people. Keep in mind, though, that singling one person out for praise in front of peers can have an effect on team morale; additionally, not everyone likes being called out publicly, even in a nice way.
If you need to highlight something the person needs to improve upon, or if there is any chance the conversation could go that way, then it has to happen in private.
Effective feedback is an essential part of volunteer management. To learn more, come to an upcoming workshop
Click here to register Wednesday, February, 19. 2020. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Want to learn more? Come to an upcoming workshop.
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