Updated: Aug 28
Feedback can be a nerve-wracking experience, both for the giver and the receiver. But with the right approach, it can be a powerful tool for growth and development. Here are some key points to keep in mind when giving feedback:
1. Build a Foundation of Psychological Safety and Relationship.
Before giving feedback, it's important to assess the level of psychological safety and relationship you have with the person you're giving feedback to. This can vary depending on your workplace dynamics, partnership, or friendship. If you have a strong foundation of trust and a good relationship with the person, you may be able to be more direct and candid with your feedback. However, if you're working with someone new or haven't established a solid relationship yet, you may need to approach the feedback more delicately. Building a foundation of psychological safety takes time, but don't shy away from giving timely feedback as soon as possible, as it can help address issues early on and prevent them from escalating.
2. Timing is Key.
While timely feedback is crucial, timing is also important. It's essential to be mindful of when you give feedback to ensure it is well-received. For example, if someone has just completed a task or a presentation and is feeling accomplished, it may not be the best time to provide constructive feedback. Instead, show support and acknowledge their efforts before providing feedback. Timing is crucial in ensuring that the feedback is received positively and does not come across as undermining or demoralizing.
3. Feedback Can Flow in Any Direction.
Feedback is not limited to top-down communication from leaders to direct reports. The best working environments are those where feedback can flow in any direction, whether it's from leaders to team members, team members to leaders, or peers providing feedback to each other. Be open to giving feedback and encourage a culture of feedback in your workplace, where everyone feels comfortable and empowered to provide feedback to help each other improve and grow.
4. Be Specific and Constructive.
When giving feedback, be specific about the behavior or action that needs improvement. Avoid generalizations or vague comments that may not provide clear guidance for the receiver. Be constructive in your feedback, focusing on areas for improvement rather than criticizing or pointing out mistakes. Use language that is respectful, empathetic, and solution-oriented to create a supportive environment where the receiver feels motivated to take action on the feedback. You can take a phrase I use, which is asking them "Have you considered..." which opens ups more conversation around a particular topic and allows you to provide feedback in a way that isn't aggressive.
5. Follow-up and Support.
After providing feedback, follow up with the person to check in on their progress and offer additional support if needed. This shows that you genuinely care about their growth and development and are invested in their success. Be available for further discussion or clarification and be willing to provide ongoing feedback as needed.
Giving effective feedback is a valuable skill for leaders and team members alike. By building a foundation of psychological safety, being mindful of timing, fostering a culture of feedback, being specific and constructive, and providing follow-up and support, you can give feedback that has people proactively asking for more. Remember, feedback is a tool for growth and development, and when done right, it can contribute to creating a positive and supportive working environment where everyone can thrive. Take the initiative to give feedback and contribute to the success of your team and organization.
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