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John Rice

Bowland Solutions

Sales & Marketing Director

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4 tips on how to provide great feedback


We've put these 4 tips in order of importance as we see it. The order is actually based on the key value that you should trust the recipient of feedback. Here goes

Have a positive intent

Not really a tip? Maybe, maybe not. But we really recommend that you examine whether you have a truly positive intent before you give feedback. If the aim of your feedback is to manipulate a situation to your benefit, or undermine a competitor at work, or gain favour with your own manager then that will show through your feedback and you will break the trust that you need to be able to give feedback over time.

Be genuine

This works both ways. If you don't believe a good job has been done then don't say so. If you are being asked to criticise someone's performance but don't believe it merits criticism then again, don't do it. Trust is a precious commodity in a relationship and being genuine in your feedback is critical to retaining that trust.

Be specific

OK, now we are onto the more practical tips. Feedback is much more powerful when a specific example or circumstance can be referred to. This works for both positive and critical feedback. Being specific has two key benefits. The obvious one is clarity - the recipient understands what has led to the feedback.

The added - often most important - benefit is the feeling of being noticed. For positive feedback this gives the recipient the awareness that you are interested and have taken the time to notice a specific incident which has merited feedback. For critical feedback it leads to an awareness of your attentiveness (not that they are being watched, just that you are attentive and interested) and allows them to examine the feedback against something material.

Be timely

Ever tried to give feedback to a child a day or two after an event - you wouldn't even try! They are vague and become dismissive and certainly will deny any wrongdoing. Timely feedback ensures the chances of you both having the same recollection of events is high(er!) and also allows for a discussion to be held which feels immediately relevant.

A timely thank you, or timely nudge in another direction allows the feedback to sit easily alongside the event. If this becomes a habit then it also avoids critical feedback becoming something that looms large in your mind if you are uncomfortable in providing such feedback.

How you provide the feedback will be down to your style - remember, be genuine - and like other organisations Bowland can provide training in useful techniques. But follow the four tips above and most recipients will overlook any technical failings and accept the genuine intent of your feedback.


Author Profile Picture
John Rice

Sales & Marketing Director

Read more from John Rice

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