Fixing Feedback Failures

22 Aug

What happens inside your brain when someone gives you feedback?

Do you cringe and wait for the criticism? Do you feel inferior to the person who is doling their comments to you? Do your defenses kick into overdrive? Do you freeze and just shut down?

Based on your answers, you may not be surprised that people who receive feedback apply it only 30% of the time, according to neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner.  That’s a pretty low percentage.

So how can you provide feedback to others that has the intended result – to lead to improvement and growth?

FeedbackHere are five suggestions to giving more productive feedback:

Create opportunity – Be thoughtful about how and when you provide feedback.  In front of colleagues is not a good approach. A safe setting with sufficient time and lack of distractions will create a positive environment.

Be positive – Provide positive and negative feedback in equal measure.  Positive feedback encourages the person to be open to heading in a new direction.  When providing negative feedback, follow-up with a suggestion or recommendation for improvement.

Be specific – Vague reference to suggestions for improvement can be open to interpretation and future misunderstanding. It’s best to be clear about expectations so that they can be achieved.

Be timely – Feedback provided way after the fact is rife with pitfalls. Memories of an event may be different and you will spend more time chasing those details than discussing the performance or task. Feedback should be frequent and as immediate as possible.

Encourage success – If someone’s performance is lacking. it absolutely needs to be addressed. Being tough is OK, but being mean won’t achieve the desired result. Ask the person what his or her perspective is first.  Work together on a plan for future success.

Generating the most out of feedback requires some thought, however the rewards are totally worth the effort – for you both.



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