Receiving timely and accurate feedback is essential to self-awareness and professional and personal growth. Here are some of the best practices in giving accurate and effective feedback.
1. Try the good news, bad news, and good news approach.
Even though many people immediately focus on their weaknesses they are often sensitive and defensive about people pointing to such growth areas. In giving effective feedback it is wise to approach someone in the following ways.
“You are excellent at relating to people at their level and understanding their needs (Good news).
“However the perception of many is that you need to be more skilled in dealing with conflict and tough managerial issues” (Bad news).
Your strong interpersonal skills will serve as a foundation in you becoming more direct and assertive with others. (Good News).
2. Understand your audience before giving feedback.
It is important to do your homework in knowing the culture and needs of your audience before giving feedback.
A North American company was attempting to open up a new Market with its business partner in China. The marketing team from the USA volunteered to do the marketing research for the new venture and also suggested how they would do it. The Chinese partner took exception to this suggestion (feedback) since they had done their own research using their own methods. They viewed the other teams offer as an insult to their expertise and a loss of face.
The key to effective feedback then is to how to understand and align with the culture, personality, and need of your audience.
3. Always peg the feedback to the person’s strengths and aspirations
A person will seldom resist feedback if they know that you are knowledgeable and aligned with their best interests, aspirations, and speak to their strengths.
An example of such feedback would be “You really want to expand your sphere of influence and contribution to our organization. (Aspiration)
If you developed your capacity to think and act strategically (Growth Need) you will greatly enhance your opportunity to achieve your goal”.
4. Tell an inspiring story of what the business/person could be despite potential obstacles.
An inspiring story of what the person or organization could become is one of the greatest motivators for anyone to shoot for the stars. In this sense it is not feedback but feed forward that you will be giving. A vision of the future has the potential of making everyone an adventurer or hero. It is one of the most powerful forms of feedback.
Some of the most effective people I know are open to and receptive of feedback on how they are doing as leaders. If the “emperor has no clothes” they want to hear about it. If there are best practices to be shared they ferret them out and tell everyone in the organization. In this way they successfully leverage others for their growth as leaders as well as developing great organizations.
What effective feedback techniques do you use?
What sort of feedback has inspired you to be the sort of person you know you can be?
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