The Importance of Feedback

The best way to discover the gaps in your skillset, or any other ways you should develop professionally is by seeking out feedback. If you’re a manager, to be effective, you need to be skilled at giving out both praise and criticism. It’s your responsibility to the people on your team, and the only way to do this is with frequent feedback. But for most, giving and receiving feedback can be uncomfortable and awkward.

Whether you’re an individual contributor or manager, today we look at ways to incorporate more feedback into your work life in an unintimidating way, to help you develop your skills and career.

Create a safe environment where two-way feedback is welcomed

If you’re a manager, let your team know that you want to help them develop professionally, and to do that you’ll be giving them feedback frequently. Explain that your aim is for the feedback to be two-way so that you can hear how you can improve your skills, or systems and processes as a manger. As an individual contributor, you should let your manager know that you value feedback and want to know any ways you could improve. Hopefully this will make your manager feel more confident giving you feedback.

Give feedback in real time

Effective feedback is timely, frequent and linked directly to actions. The more concrete and actionable the feedback, including examples of recent work and how it could be improved upon, the quicker individuals will be able to integrate, adapt and respond to situations in an impactful manner.

Regular 1-on-1s

If you’re not already having 1-on-1s with your manager and direct reports, you should be. Though the hope is you would be giving feedback throughout the week, this isn’t always realistic for every situation. Scheduling time to have regular 1-on-1 meetings is the perfect opportunity to give and receive feedback. Ideally, this should be at least once a week but if that’s not possible, even once a fortnight can still be beneficial.

1-on-1’s should be just that, one on one. It’s important that these are conducted in a private meeting room to encourage open, honest feedback and to help nurture a safe environment for employees.

Giving good feedback

So what are the characteristics of helpful feedback? While this list is by no means all-inclusive, constructive feedback should be specific, timely, meaningful, candid and supportive:

Specific – Feedback should have a clear business focus, and break down the specifics of the example.

Timely – Feedback should be offered as close as possible to the action in question.

  1. Meaningful – Add context and precision to the message.
  2. CandidBe true and straightforward throughout the feedback.
  3. Supportive – Keep your tone collaborative and make sure your employee knows they still have your support and your respect.
  4. Receiving feedback gracefully It can be hard to hear that you’re not doing something right, or there’s room for improvement. Try not to take it personally, and attempt to develop a thicker skin, remembering that everyone has areas where they can develop professionally. Make sure you fully understand the issue your manager raises with you, and if you don’t ask questions so you can clarify, so you can be sure to implement the correct change.

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