What You Need to Know About Giving (and Receiving) Feedback

Nervous about giving feedback to your direct report, peer, or manager? Does the thought of receiving the results of your 360-degree feedback review stress you out? Giving and receiving feedback is crucial to a successful employee performance strategy — and it gets easier with practice. Read these quick tips, techniques, and takeaways to calm your nerves and prepare for high quality feedback sessions.

Giving Feedback

Your Purpose: To help your colleague improve and grow.

Your Mindset: Come from a position of wanting to help. Think more like a coach and less like an evaluator.

Your Timing: Immediate is often best. But be sure to pause to prepare and calm emotions. Consider the receiver in planning the timing of your feedback. Is your colleague visibly having a stressful or bad day?  

Your Preparation: Think through what you’re going to say. Don’t be afraid to write down some notes. Be candid, but don’t go off-the-cuff.

Your Emotional Intelligence: Take into consideration the personality, tendencies, and emotional intelligence of the receiver. Understand how your personality can impact your ability to give feedback, and understand how you can avoid triggering a fight-or-flight feedback response from the receiver. 

Your Words: Be thoughtful about what you say. Be specific. Stick to facts and actions. Give both positive and corrective feedback. Be respectful. Mind Tools recommends a simple structure for giving feedback:

  1. Situation: Describe the situation your feedback is about. Be specific with the when and where to give the receiver context.
  2. Behavior: Objectively describe the behaviors you want to address. Don’t make assumptions or judgements on behavior. Using verbs and not adjectives will help you stick to facts.
  3. Impact: Use “I” statements to explain how the person’s actions have impacted you or the team.

Free Download: A Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback


Receiving Feedback

Your Purpose: To improve and grow.

Your Mindset: Come from a growth mindset. View feedback as a gift that will help you.

Your Timing: Be aware that feedback is best given immediately. But if you are not in the right mindset to receive feedback, ask to schedule for another time.

Your Preparation: If you need to mentally prepare, ask the feedback giver for a heads-up on the topic. Avoid using any extra time to build your defense, but rather clear your head, so you can enter the feedback conversation open for growth. 

Your Emotional Intelligence: Take into consideration the personality, tendencies, and emotional intelligence of the feedback giver. This can help you avoid feeling like you’re under attack. Understand how your personality can impact your ability to receive feedback, and understand how you can avoid having a fight-or-flight feedback response

Your Words and Reactions: Remain calm and manage emotions, while also engaging in the conversation. Focus less on the validity or reasoning of the feedback; instead, be curious and record what the giver is saying. Here are some additional tips:

  • Use active listening skills: Make good eye contact and exhibit open body language
  • Take notes, summarize what you heard, and ask questions
  • Thank the feedback giver
  • Self-reflect: Evaluate the feedback slowly. Spot patterns. Decide whether you’re going to accept the feedback. Focus on the portions you can use to make a positive difference in your life

 

Giving and receiving feedback are skills that can be difficult to develop. With practice and a feedback-fostering culture, you can reap the benefits of this powerful professional development technique.

 Free ebook! A Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback With a Growth Mindset!