Giving feedback need not be a daunting task
Written by: Zena D’souza
So many times we come across scenarios where we need to give feedback or take it from our superiors or peers. Often discomfort is sensed on both ends – sometimes more on the giver’s end than the receiver’s. Why is that?
Giving feedback is not as simple as it sounds – it involves a complex range of words, emotions, expressions, and body language. Yes sir, giving straight feedback is not everyone’s cup of tea. Here are some pointers that I have learned along the way in order to be a leader who does not shy away from giving feedback.
1. Be Objective: Really difficult not to have a bias as a human being but one has to practice this. Feedback cannot be used as a means to get even with team members you do not like. its not payback time for sure
2. Make sure you have data to support your statements: Use at least 3-4 data points while giving feedback. For eg: If you want to talk to a colleague about his/her late coming it is always better to carry the attendance sheet with you showing the last 15 days of punch-in time.
3. Avoid the ‘n=1’ syndrome: Do not give feedback based on one incidence alone. Wait until you know it has happened more than once.
4. Feedback not Reaction: Reacting and that too in public is definitely not tantamount to giving feedback. Avoid this at all costs.
5. Be straightforward: Often I have seen people beating around the bush, not being straight with their words or not meeting the eyes of the person and shuffling around embarrassed. All this undermines your authority as a leader.
Look at the person in the eye and do not resort to statements like “I have heard from someone…” or “People are talking about …”
6. Set a time: Feedback is not something that should be given offhand without a thought to what should be said. Set a time with the concerned person when you will not be interrupted by people. This will also send a message that you have the person’s best interest at heart.
7. Be Prepared: Write down points to be discussed if needed. Be prepared for a variety of reactions and plan how to handle each one of them. It will go a long way in making sure the meeting does not go out of hand.
Giving feedback is one of the toughest but can be one of the most rewarding tasks of a leader. After all, one has great pride in seeing one’s protégé succeed