In recent conversations with colleagues, discussed centred on the topic of feedback - particularly the importance of the way feedback is delivered. Discussions led to the mutual agreement that feedback is usually provided in the way it has been previously provided and most times, feedback had been poorly provided. Conversation then led to the importance of providing coaching and training in order to provide positive and constructive feedback.
A few points that assist in providing positive feedback involve:
Timeliness - feedback provided is best provided in a timely manner when the issue(s) is recent in the recipient's memory. This applies to positive and constructive feedback - think about how much more effective it is to provide feedback for a job well done as it arises, rather than wait for the half-yearly performance discussion due in 6 months. The same applies for constructive feedback - this enables any correction and/ or remedial action to be put in place immediately rather than later when it may offer little or no effect. Recency of the feedback contributes to the management of any issues as awareness is still at it's peak.
Relevance - this assists in the delivery and discussion of the issue(s). It is helpful information that the recipient can use to either adjust or improve current and future actions/ behaviours. It also enables expectations to be stated clearly and what is required to achieve those expectations. It is an effective way to avoid misunderstanding and confusion while encouraging positive changes.
Unbiased - objective, factual information is best provided without subjectivity/ personal opinion - facts that are impossible or difficult to dispute. Logic and facts rather than personal preference is usually much more difficult for someone to dispute. Objective feedback is motivated by the desire to encourage improvement. Objective criticism does not include personal attacks or overly negative language - it seeks to use the expression of unbiased thoughts and reason rather than the expression of emotions and personal preference. The focus should be on changing the behaviour, rather than the person.
Overall, discussion led to the agreement that feedback provides continuous learning and enables improvement. Constructive feedback enables improvement, learning and creating action plans to implement positive change. Overall, feedback enables an organisation to:
- remain aligned to goals,
- create strategies,
- develop products and/ or service improvements,
- improve and maintain relationships, and much more.