Numerous books and articles have been written on effective ways to give feedback. From my coaching experience, here is my recommendation on the best approach to take.
8 steps to giving feedback that is well-received and useful:
1. Get permission from the recipient.
Asking: ‘is this a good time?’ gives the person receiving the feedback a chance to prepare psychologically. This is also important when giving feedback in the moment.
2. Be clear on who benefits.
Only give feedback that genuinely supports a person’s professional development. It must be about them, not you.
3. Come from a position of respect and support, but trust people are capable of managing their own reactions.
The most helpful feedback is specific, evidence-based and uses clear language. Although you need to choose your language carefully so that it remains respectful, it is important to be candid and have faith in people’s ability to process and make good use of it.
4. Instead of focusing on weaknesses, consider what people need to do and be more of.
Appreciative Inquiry research suggests that moving from a deficit-based to a positive-change approach gives stronger results.
5. Start by asking questions.
Asking people how they see their own performance can lead you to common ground and a conversation about hidden strengths and opportunities for growth.
6. Stay present and slow the pace.
You can help people feel more comfortable by being warm, welcoming and patient.
7. Take the three step approach (`poop sandwich` redefined).
- Describe what you see is working well;
- Ask permission to highlight opportunities for them to do even better;
- Acknowledge their unique value as a professional.
As a leader, it is important to know what you can do to help your team succeed.
It is good leadership practice to acknowledge and celebrate people's efforts and successes early and often. There is no such thing as too much praise and recognition when it is specific and genuine. Most people have a very active inner critic. This, added to our human tendency to find fault, can wear us all down. Celebrating 'wins', even small ones, and thanking people for the work they do can build stronger, more committed teams.