Giving feedback, whether structured or unstructured, planned or unplanned, can be a difficult process, but it doesn't have to be. Here are five simple steps you can take to provide feedback in a productive, useful, and informative way.
First, prepare your feedback.
Occasionally you will be asked to give feedback on the spot. If you have the information ready, you can share it. However, you can also say that you need some time to think about it to provide relevant and useful feedback. As you prepare, think about the important information you will share, how you will deliver it, such as in person or via email, and clear examples you can provide to illustrate your points.
The second step is to focus on how you share your feedback.
Often it is not what we say to others, but how we say it that has an impact. When giving constructive feedback, make sure your tone is supportive, informal and helps the other person find solutions.
The third step is share facts and use concrete examples.
Use examples to help the other person understand your point. Focusing on facts helps make feedback less personal and more objective. When examining facts and using specific examples, collect a variety of examples to give a broad perspective rather than focusing on a single event.
The fourth step is to listen.
Giving feedback isn't a one-way street. It should be a collaborative process. When you focus on listening, remember to allow time for the other person to digest the information and discuss their views at a later time..
The final step is to focus on the future.
We all have development potential. The key is to use feedback as an opportunity to improve in the future. Phrase your feedback in a way that is useful and can help the other person improve in the future.
To put this into practice action, you could practice this approach with a colleague by giving each other feedback in a specific area.