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close this bookHundred Tips for a Better Management (Aga Khan Foundation, 1993, 70 p.)
close this folderGiving feedback
View the document77. Try coaching63
View the document78. Maintain control through management tools64
View the document79. Provide feedback to staff65
View the document80. Make feedback valuable66
View the document81. Don't confuse feedback with evaluation67
View the document82. How to ask for feedback68

80. Make feedback valuable66

Subordinates need substantive feedback to either continue on track or re-route and improve work performance. Time is limited so think ahead about what you will say and how you will say it.

The guidelines below will help managers transform personal, unorganised thoughts into constructive, tangible feedback.

Acknowledge the need for feedback:

  • Giving and receiving feedback, should be part of the whole organisation's culture, wherein, everyone agrees that it will help establish and maintain good group dynamics. This consensus is important so that there is no surprise when someone receives feedback.

  • Give positive and negative feedback

  • Don't give feedback only when there are problems.

  • Don't take good work for granted.

  • Tell workers when they have done a job well.

People are more likely to pay attention to complaints if they are also in the habit of receiving compliments understand the context.

The most important characteristic of feedback is that it always has context: where the performance occurred, why it occurred, and what led up to the event. Before giving feedback, review the actions and decisions that led up to that point.

Know when to give feedback

  • Is the moment right for feedback? Consider more than your own need to give feedback.

Know how to give feedback

  • Be descriptive, but concise.
  • Don't coin behaviour into labels like, "unprofessional." They are judgmental as are words like, "good," "bad," "worst," etc.
  • Don't exaggerate.
  • Speak only for yourself.
  • Talk first about yourself, not about the other party; for example, "I feel annoyed that you are late for meetings," rather than, "You are frequently late for meetings."
  • Phrase the issue as a statement, not a question; for example, "It bothers me when you are late for meetings," rather than, "When are you going to be on time for meetings?"
  • Restrict your feedback to things you know for certain.
  • Help workers hear and accept positive feedback. Remember, some people are awkward about acknowledging compliments about themselves. Reinforce positive feedback.

Know how to receive positive feedback.

  • Relax. Breathe to relieve tenseness.
  • Listen carefully and don't interrupt.
  • Ask for specific examples of the described behaviour if you are unclear.
  • Acknowledge valid points.
  • Feel free to take time to sort out feedback before you respond.