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#36- Feedback: Take 2 continued
Now that you’re clear on the definition and purpose of Feedback, and you’ve set a clear intention for your feedback conversation with Jane, you’re ready for the next step: Giving feedback. This has two basic tenets:
  • Everybody desires to be treated with respect and dignity = Looking at this conversation from the receiver’s perspective, as well as your own.
  • Feedback, negative or positive, needs to be honest and factual = Combining courage and compassion.

Logical brain We engage the logical part of the brain to deliver the facts (as we see them) via a straightforward message in a respectful process. The more straightforward the message, the more impactful it is. Saying it with courage means keeping it simple.

Emotional brain: We engage the emotional brain by being genuine and compassionate. A genuine feedback conversation will begin with: “I Observe…”, “I Feel...”, “I Think…”, “I Need…”, “I Want…” – preferably in that order. Starting with “I” rather than “you” means showing up authentically for the conversation. It will also reinforce trust and enable you to surface what is really going on between you and your employee, as you continue your genuine exchange. 


Four S’s for Giving Feedback:

Combining courage with compassion, while delivering feedback with respect is never easy for either the giver or the receiver. When offering critique, I suggest adhering to Four S’s of Feedback: Small, Specific, Staged, Symmetrical.  This helps build trust between you and your employee, even with a challenging situation.
Small:  Give feedback in small doses. In short, turn off the fire hose! You’re more likely to be heard and understood if you approach one topic only, even if there are five to consider.
Specific: Keep the conversation focused. Make sure you have your facts straight. Do you have concrete examples to back up what you’re saying? Providing evidence-based feedback will help to keep the conversation focused and respectful.
Staged: Carefully choose an appropriate time and location for your feedback conversation.  Remember, the cafeteria at lunchtime may not be the wisest choice.
Symmetrical: Find praise as well as fault. It’s a rare situation where everything is negative. Coming up with some examples of the good stuff helps you place the feedback in a larger perspective.
On the other hand….giving feedback means you're willing to receive it

Feedback is an integral part of building a productive and trusting work relationship. The resulting trust leaves the door open to a two way street, as in any genuine conversation, no matter how difficult at times.   As a manager or as an employee, if you find yourself on the receiving end of negative feedback:
  • Ask for help or take it when offered: deep down, most people desire success for you. In my experience, I’ve never encountered a situation where help is simply not available. Are you willing to accept it?
  • Acknowledge your part in the good, the bad and the ugly. This is not always easy, but it takes two to tango. Taking responsibility for your contribution to an impasse will go a long way to turning things in your favour.
  • Trust your inner voice; it will always guide you through to the other side of the tunnel.
  • Surround yourself with encouraging people and allies who can see the brilliance in you. 
Congratulations! You are well on your way to giving and receiving feedback in an honest and respectful way. Remember, feedback is an ongoing conversation, delivered consistently over time, with the purpose of building trust and honesty in a work relationship. 

Would you like to hear more on this topic?

I'd like to invite you to join me and the team at on March 25, 2015 as I host a webcast entitled The Manager's Dilemma: "I'm supposed to be a Coach too?" Or The Art of Giving Feedback.  Membership is free and the webcast is complimentary.  
For details, click on the link below.  I hope you'll tune in!