Giving feedback – at the right time and in the right way

The skill of giving and receiving feedback is important when developing en effective relationship. It is a key skill for any Manager is the ability to give feedback at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.

Appropriate time

Don’t wait for yearly performance reviews like appraisal to give feedback. Good feedback should be given in a timely manner, ideally as soon as possible after the task or situation on which you are giving feedback

With it being fresh in their mind, it makes it lot easier to recall the details and why they may have behaved in a certain way. They also may even resent that you have waited all this time to use against them.

Appropriate manner

If you give feedback the right way, it will convey the idea that you want the personal to develop and be successful. If you give it clumsily they will take it personally and become demotivated.

When giving feedback:

  • Be specific as possible on the behaviour that you are discussing and describe the behaviour that you would like to see instead
  • Be constructive by focusing on how the person can resolve the problem or issue and how they can handle it better in future
  • Be balanced highlighting what they did well and what they can do to improve
  • Take responsibility of the feedback by using phrases like I think’. and ‘I don’t like rather than ‘everyone thinks…’
  • Be clear and direct using simple language that is easy to understand
  • Focus on performance or behaviour and not the person

There are lots of feedback models, the one that I might most effective and helps you to do all of the above is the STARC High Value Feedback model.

Only High Value Feedback leaves a person with complete clarity about their behavioural impact, and this is more likely to make them feel motivated to make changes in the case of counterproductive behaviour or do more in the case of productive or desirable behaviour.

Use of the acronym “STARC” helps you to give balanced feedback:

S – Describe the situation
T – Describe the task that you/the other person were doing
A – Describe the action that the person took (upon which you are giving feedback)
R – Describe the result or effect of that action
C – Either confirm that this is good, or ask the person to change their behaviour

This should be done in a direct and assertive manner, calmly and sensitively appreciating that the person may not have realised they were doing the wrong thing!

Some examples:

Giving negative feedback

You could say:

Your presentation wasn’t very good

It would sound better if you said:

S – At yesterdays meeting
T – You did a presentation to the team
A – The writing on the slides was small
R – People couldn’t read them. The result was that people were distracted from what you were saying.
C – Next time you want to use a bigger size font

Giving positive feedback

You could say:

Great meeting

It would sound better if you said:

S – At last week’s team meeting
T – When you were chairing
A – You use humour in the session
R – This helped people to relax. They started to contribute more and were more honest in their responses
C – Confirm you should do this again

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