Top Ten Tips on...

Giving Feedback

19 March 2023
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
How to decide what to say when giving feedback, and how to say it… So that the impact is positive and effective for everyone involved.

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Constructive feedback is crucial

Little things make a big difference. And one of the really good examples of that is giving constructive and positive feedback. We all like to feel good about ourselves. And giving such feedback costs nothing. All feedback should be given with the intent to help and improve. That's what makes it constructive.


Make it authentic

The feedback has to be believed, valued and valuable. And if you're not sure how to give the feedback, then it's a good idea to put yourself in their shoes. If someone was about to give you constructively critical feedback, how would you want it to be given? then follow your own views and base your approach on what would work best for you.


Make it behaviour specific

It has to be about the individual's behaviour rather than about individual themselves. This means you can value the individual whilst addressing the inappropriate behaviour.


Make it relevant

Feedback should be about their performance, the way they behave and how it impacts - directly or indirectly - on their own or others' performance.


Give feedback early

The feedback should be as close to the event as possible, not saved. For example, for some performance reviews or appraisals, you may want the feedback to help make a change or have an impact as soon as possible. So why would you save it?


Make it evidence-based

The individual needs to be given proof of what they are doing, which is why it always has to be about their behaviour rather than about them generally, or their attitude, which is non-evidenceable.


Make it directly to the person concerned

This doesn't always happen. Surprisingly, for example, there are two other types of feedback: private feedback and third party feedback. Private feedback is when you acknowledge how good somebody else's performance has been, but only to yourself, in your head. Third party feedback occurs when you acknowledge someone’s strengths to somebody else.


Make it specific

Generalised feedback isn't really helpful, since the individual can't focus on either what's good or not.


Give blind spot feedback

The essence of blind spot feedback is people can't change what they don't know. There are two types of blind spot. For the first, the individual is unaware of their behaviour, and for the second, the individual is unaware of the impact of their behaviour. Both types can of course cause problems. If this is the case then it's really your job as their manager to address it. Because if you don't address it, it's bound to continue because the individual is blind to the issue. So not to challenge is to condone.


Use the SBIA structure

If you are giving constructively critical feedback, these four steps might give you a structure for such feedback. The structure is SBIA – standing for Situation, Behaviour Impact and Alternative. Let the person know what the situation is that you are going to talk to them about, to give them a context for the feedback; then describe the behaviour you witnessed or have evidence for. Then explain the negative Impact this has had, in what way and on who, and then either offer or get them to suggest an Alternative way of dealing with things should a similar situation occur.

Effective Top Tens - Podcast
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