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Feedback v Criticism


This is regarding an appraisal situation. What are the main points of advice to give managers when they are giving staff feedback regarding good and bad performance?
Many thanks
jayne williams

11 Responses

  1. Feedback
    Have you heard of “there is no failure only feedback” ? Giving feedback is like a sandwich & consists of three parts. The top bit is what has been done well; the middle bit what they can do better next time-less or more of; the bottom bit an overall positive comment.
    Words to avoid are: but, however, don’t you think etc.
    The whole point of feedback is to put across development points for the individual in a constructive manner.
    Other things to consider are rapport, comfort zones and the context of the feedback. Get the managers to think about how they would like to receive feedback.

  2. make sure they take ownership of the feedback
    While I agree with the principle of the feedback sandwich and the associated comments in the previous response I would add that the individual needs to assume ownership of the feedback. So, once you have give the final overall positive piece you say something such as “so… what will YOU do next time?”. This also avoids the problems of primacy and recency where the individual only hears what was said first and last and misses the bit where they have been given guidance about how to improve.

  3. Different Approaches
    I have seen many models of feedback and the ones that I have found work best focus (as previously suggested) on having individuals feel responsible for what they need to do (as a result of the feedback), they also develop relationships. As such phrases like, “So what are you going to do now?”, and, “How can I help you do that?”, are helpful if well facilitated.

    Also don’t forget that feedback comes in two main areas; feedback on an individual event (good performance / behaviour or poor performance / behaviour), or alternatively a ‘review’ type of feedback (where you provide feedback on more than one event, more time based and less timely).

    In selecting the type of feedback you are going to give and the purpose of your feedback (either to reinforce good efforts or to bring about change in undesired efforts) you can help to maintain focus and make the event more ‘profitable’.

    For ‘one event’ feedback this means that the Good/Bad/Good feedback sandwich is avoided when all you want to say is ‘well done!’ Also it avoids having to ‘make up’ good news when someone has done something particularly wrong.

    Consider getting the environment right, being specific about what took place, explain the impact of their actions / behaviour, ask for their views, explaining your expectations of the future, action planning together.

    For a ‘review’ type of feedback (weekly, monthly, annually, etc.), consider avoiding the Good/Bad/Good sandwich. In this you are not really doing the feedback justice (especially if the ‘bad news’ has some real significance to effective performance in the job), but rather you are providing an ‘easy ending’ for the discussion.

    Instead get the environment right, explain what you are going to do, give an overall review of performance and ask for their views (either way around dependant on the personality involved). Explain what was liked and reinforce that these behaviours / performance are to be rewarded, focus then on the poor behaviour / performance and why this needs to change, (for some individuals discussing this helps learning take place).

    Having gotten this far you can then look at development planning to change the poor performance / behaviour to good. You then ask for their views on the way forward and action plan together which is to be a positive experience.

    Feedback is (along with most management ‘actions’) hugely underrated as a skill but can cause no end of problems if not done right. With a little focus, a well planned structure and remembering that it is not only feedback being given (it will result in feedback being received!), working relationships should improve not just work performance.

    Good luck and e-mail me if you want to ‘chat’. I can provide advice on a workshop event that can help to improve feedback skills. This page is good as a starting point but feedback is a huge subject!

  4. feedback give them a boost!
    Sometimes the simple things can help – I find this feedback acronym helpful. BOOST

    B Behaviour About what you did not what I thought your intentions were
    O Observed What you actually observed or felt not what others told you
    O Owned “I felt angry” not “You made me angry”
    S Specific “When this happens I feel” not “You always……”
    T Timely at the right time – probably as soon as possible.

  5. feedback
    Factual …… not opinions
    Evidence..(what you saw and heard)
    And ……not but!

  6. Understanding Behaviour
    I agree with all the other comments, there should be no suprises for the candidate during appraisals if the individual was managed appropriately during the year. Appraisals should celebrate their acheivements. Research states that many managers do not undertsand their people. I use Discus which is a behavioural profile and generates a full enhanced report. It also raises questions to ask and tells you their likely response. If you want me email a sample report let me know. It is in PDF format. Regards, Simon

  7. Care & Thought
    As with many management skills careful preparation is essential. Feedback should not be an unusual event but it should be integral to a normal working environment. To achieve this is quite difficult because it demands culture management. The other really important element is the use of language, one word can destroy a lot of hard earned motivation. Honesty with care is also an absolute essential this again is not so easy but in the long run people benefit from being told it as it is. The preverbal sandwich is important but I feel that honesty, care and proper preparation are absolutely critical. Good luck.

  8. Behavourial Profiling
    I was interested to read Simon Burgess’ reply to Jaynes question and I would be grateful if Simon could also email me a copy of the Discus profile that he uses.


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