How Great Feedback Givers Do It So Well
Updated: Nov 4
I recently asked few dozen people who worked as full time team members or contractors about great feedback givers (GFGs) who helped them the most. The interviewees had ready answers–and also strong views about feedback givers that made them puzzled, anxious, and/or less productive. The top four characteristics mentioned about Great Feedback Givers were:
#1 GFGs actually give you feedback
I had to laugh, but this one speaks to the general LACK of feedback that employees experience in their jobs roles. Study after study supports this dismal fact: The majority of leaders give only the required feedback in annual reviews and some give NO feedback. Workers tell me over and over again that they prefer negative or corrective feedback to no feedback and ideally, they want feedback–positive, corrective and everything in between.
#2 GFGs do it right away–No delay!
Most of the fear and loathing about feedback could be prevented if people spoke up and gave the feedback immediately after the event they observed! If it’s positive, do it anytime, anywhere. If you see a need for improvement, speak to them promptly in private or ask for 10 minutes of their time. later in the day. Don’t wait to “formulate” the perfect feedback–That is a recipe for awkwardness and you will make the other person unnecessarily nervous. Spit it out, help the other person make a plan for change, and let it go until the next conversation.
#3 GFGs focus on today’s observation
People want to be able to correct what you don’t like right away. If you see something that needs correcting (or needs appreciating), say it now and stick to your topic. Don’t launch into a history of how they did it wrong for six months. That just points to your own procrastination. If you have failed to inform them about what they need to change, you must start fresh and stick to your current observations. Move it from here and start talking with them more frequently.
#4 GFGs leave them with a clear route to success!
Everybody everywhere wants to succeed! Sounds obvious–but many employees go away from feedback conversations with no clue about how to fix the thing you aren’t happy with. If you do nothing else, focus on something they can do that is under their control. And don’t assume that just because they’re nodding OK, that they understand what you are suggesting. Ask for their input and ask them to summarize (in their own words) the 1-2 actions they plan to take.
If you follow these four tips, you will enjoy surprisingly high regard by your team members. People will spread positive rumors about you and everyone will want to be on your team. You will be helping people the most!