Feedback: What It Is, Benefits, and the Strategy of Providing Feedback
What is needed for effective teamwork in an organization? Material rewards don't always motivate, so the right feedback comes to the rescue.
Let's figure it out together: what it is, why and who needs feedback, what strategies exist, and also consider the benefits of feedback.
What feedback is
Feedback is a form of response or reaction from an individual or a group regarding something, typically in the form of constructive and detailed evaluation.
A feedback that motivates development exhibits the following characteristics:
According to statistics, more than 50% of employees receive feedback that is either too general or non-constructive criticism. Remarks directed at individuals can cause discomfort and tension. To avoid this, be precise and clear. Instead of saying "You always delay the reports," use "This month, you sent the report 5 days later. Let's discuss why this happened and how we can fix it."
Common expressions can evoke a negative reaction. It creates the impression that the person giving feedback is not interested in the situation.
Elaboration and assistance
When we are in a hurry or want to finish the feedback quickly, we tend to provide evaluative judgments. They can sound like reprimands, even if the initial intention was positive. Therefore, strive to express your thoughts objectively and in detail. Also, provide advice on how to solve the problem.
It is important to pay attention to the context, meaning the situation and circumstances. People may not perceive your message if they are under stress or having a bad day. In such cases, your words may lead to a loss of motivation among employees. Therefore, after providing constructive feedback, make sure it is appropriate for the current moment.
Focus on development
Feedback is always aimed at improvement. Ask yourself, "Does my feedback motivate growth?" Provide feedback only when the answer to this question is positive. In other cases, it becomes criticism.
Feedback is an ongoing process in a company. Doing it once a year is ineffective. It is important to dedicate attention to employees, their daily responsibilities, communicate with them, and provide feedback regularly, every day.
Communication, not monologue
It is important to understand that feedback is not a one-way process. Always listen to the other person. If the dialogue is not working, wait and revisit the situation later.
The source of feedback is the person providing it. You cannot address an employee with a speech and say that it is the opinion of colleagues, managers, and others. It is important to express your own opinion.
If something goes wrong during feedback, address it immediately. Don't waste time and solve problems right away, rather than later when it becomes irrelevant.
Why feedback is important
The purpose of feedback is to improve work processes, correct errors, and provide support and motivation for employees.
Continuous feedback eliminates uncertainty when employees are unsure whether they are performing their job responsibilities adequately. Otherwise, they may feel that their work is not valued by management.
Companies with high levels of employee engagement have lower turnover rates and higher sales levels. Therefore, feedback is beneficial for both employees and organizations as a whole.
Whom can feedback be given to
Employees – it’s the most common format. Feedback from management is almost always given, but sometimes it may not be constructive.
Colleagues – for comfortable work within the same team. Implementing this type of interaction can be challenging since people often don't listen to those who are not in a higher position than them.
Management – a necessary but challenging format to implement. It is beneficial when the supervisor actively seeks feedback or when the relationship with employees is comfortable and close enough that they are not afraid to initiate such a conversation.
To provide successful feedback, follow these recommendations:
1. Prepare in advance. Come up with your speech, gather facts, and gather specific examples to support your opinion.
2. Practice. Once your speech plan is ready, you need practice. Rehearse, especially if you need to talk to someone in a higher position. This is done to gain confidence in communication.
3. Choose the right tone. How you present your words is important. Make sure your intonation reflects respect and support.
4. Ask for permission. Find out if the person is open to receiving feedback. For example, write or ask personally, "Are you okay if I share my perspective on…?". Communication in this way will be much more effective.
5. Focus on progress. Use feedback to inspire the other person. Speak to them in a way that makes them want to grow and explain how to improve the work process.
6. Use only one type of feedback at a time. There are three types of feedback:
Appreciation: express gratitude for good work.
Coaching: explore different approaches to a specific task with someone.
Evaluation: provide an assessment of a person's work from an external perspective.
Do not mix these types. If you want to express appreciation, simply say "thank you."
The general mistake is combining coaching and evaluation. If you give someone coaching first and then evaluate them, the listener will focus only on the evaluation.
Using a feedback framework is a great idea for providing high-quality feedback. It helps you stay focused and conduct a productive feedback session.
Actions – describe the situation that occurred. Be objective.
Impact – focus on the results of this situation for both the surroundings and the listener.
Desired – offer your ideas and suggestions on how to rectify or improve the situation.
Example of feedback from a director to an employee:
"During my presentation at the meeting, I noticed that you were surfing in your phone (Action). Later, you asked questions that I had already answered, which took up time and set a poor example for other employees (Impact). I suggest that in the next meeting, you put your phone aside and focus on my presentation to avoid missing important issues (Desired result)."
Situation – explain the situation for which feedback is being given. Use only facts.
Behavior – describe the person's behavior in this situation. It is effective if you provide information based on personal observations rather than others' opinions.
Impact – describe the impact (thoughts, emotions, reactions) that arise in response to the situation.
|At a meeting with a customer
|You listened to him and conveyed our ideas to him.
|The client said you handled the situation very well.
|At a meeting with the director
|You've been talking for too long.
|I thought he was very tired of your speech.
Behavior – explain the person's behavior objectively and in detail, avoiding judgmental statements.
Outcome – note the consequences that have arisen or will arise as a result of the discussed behavior.
Feelings – share your emotions regarding the situation.
Future – come up with an action plan for the future. Find out what the listener will do to prevent the situation from recurring.
"I found out that this week you added two tasks at the request of the client a few days before the completion of the overall project (Behavior). As a result, the team had to change their plans: they shifted their focus to the new tasks without completing the previous ones. As a result, not all goals were achieved (Outcome). I am disappointed because the approved plan was not executed. The other team members are demotivated (Feelings). What will you do to prevent such a situation from happening again in the future? (Future)."
Group feedback is not a typical form of communication. During such meetings, discussions revolve around collective tasks, development, and achieving common goals.
When providing criticism or praise to a whole group, it is important to be attentive and thoughtful because:
Risks and consequences can be greater.
Misunderstandings may arise. Employees may not understand who specifically the feedback is directed towards. They may either take everything personally or, conversely, think that the criticism applies to someone else.
Use the following recommendations to avoid risks:
Encourage development. The main goal of feedback is to assist in growth and talent development. Focus on areas where improvement is possible.
Acknowledge each individual's contribution. This will eliminate misunderstandings.
Avoid criticizing one person in front of others. Individual criticism is best delivered privately, rather than in front of a group. After the general meeting, discuss personal matters with specific individuals through a phone call, message, or conversation. For example, praise someone for their valuable contribution to the company's development.
How to request and receive feedback
It is important to understand how to properly receive feedback. There are fears that make this process difficult:
Perception of criticism. Many people struggle with feedback because they fear evaluation.
Psychological discomfort. Another person's opinion, if presented or understood incorrectly, is difficult to perceive and can cause shame, anger, anxiety, and so on.
Fear of imposition. When we ask for help and advice, we may create the impression that we are imposing and wasting someone's time.
Therefore, it is important to realize that:
Feedback is a source of information about you, and your manager is just one of those sources. To get a complete picture, seek feedback from colleagues, superiors, customers, etc.
Benefit and growth as a result of feedback. If you receive feedback in a not-so-pleasant manner, don't dwell on that. Instead, think about how you can improve your work. This way, the perception of feedback will become a positive and effective practice.
Requesting feedback is a characteristic of a developing professional. To become an expert in your field, it is necessary to find out what others think of your performance. Don't be afraid to "impose" yourself, as you are simply seeking advice, not asking someone to be your coach.
Benefits of feedback
The benefits of feedback include:
Identifying blind spots. Feedback helps you uncover qualities and actions that you may not be aware of in yourself. For example, while you may consider yourself caring and hardworking, your colleagues may perceive you as stubborn and not respectful of others' opinions. The only way to truly understand is by asking people for their perspective.
Preventing problems. By understanding how your actions are perceived by others, you can uncover your talents and avoid mistakes. Therefore, it is important to take into account the opinions of others.
Advancing in your career. Sometimes, we get stuck in our daily routines and become complacent. Feedback is necessary to take a holistic view of your career and become more productive in your work.
Developing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is an important skill that requires constant practice. Through feedback, you can become more aware of your own and others' emotions and learn to manage your reactions effectively.
Feedback is an important component of any organization. By using feedback, employees can develop their careers, identify their weaknesses, and work on improving them.
Feedback is beneficial for everyone involved: employees, colleagues, and management. Therefore, don't be afraid to listen to others' opinions about your actions and provide feedback to others as well.