Great managers provide great feedback

 Sep 02, 2016

One of the ways to ensure workplace goals are achieved is to provide your team members with regular feedback about their work performance.

While most of us recognise that feedback is important and helps us to improve, many managers find it very difficult to provide feedback.

In the case of positive feedback, it is often given too generally. The result of this is that the recipient might perceive it as somewhat meaningless. Another risk with generalised feedback is that the person receiving it may wonder if you have really taken the time to observe all of what they have done or written.

There are lots of challenges in providing constructive feedback, or highlighting areas for improvement. Some managers just want to be 'nice'; they don't want to upset the person. However, you should think about how upset the team member will be if they have been doing something the wrong way and you have not let them know or suggested ways to improve their performance.

Here are five models to add your feedback tool kit:

Model 1 — the feedback sandwich

Positive: Begin the feedback by identifying something the person has done well.
Constructive: Then address the areas for improvement, sometimes known as criticisms.
Positive: Finish on a positive note, highlighting the greatest achievement.

Model 2 — AID for feedback Actions

Actions: What the person is doing well or poorly
Impacts: What the effect of these actions is on themselves or other people
Desired outcome: Identify ways in which things could be done more effectively in the future.

Model 3 — the 4-stage feedback process

Stage 1 - Describe current behaviours: Describe current behaviours that you want to reinforce (praise) or redirect (criticise) to improve a situation.
Stage 2 - Identify situations: Identify the specific situation/s and contexts in which you observed these behaviours.
Stage 3 - Describe impacts and consequences: Describe the impacts and consequences of the current behaviours, both in terms of the individual and others if appropriate.
Stage 4 - Identify alternative behaviours: Identify alternative behaviours and actions for the future.

Model 4 — FAIR feedback model

Framing - What is the context of the feedback? What is the purpose?
Actions - What were the actions observed?
Impact - What was the impact of these actions?
Recommendation – Where to next? What steps from here?

Model 5 — The BAT & MICE feedback model

Balanced | Actionable | Timely |
Meaningful | Language | Constructive | Empathetic |

And finally remember these points when you are receiving feedback:

  1. Don’t argue, just listen
  2. Don’t explain, defend or justify
  3. Don’t ‘give as good as you got’
  4. Check that you have understood
  5. Thank your team member for bringing it to your attention
  6. Take it on board
  7. Make any changes you feel are needed

‘Not to alter one’s faults is to be faulty indeed’
Until next time.
Stan Thomas

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About the Author:

Stan Thomas  

Stan has been working in a professional training capacity for over 15 years and possesses a wealth of knowledge in the areas of adult education gained through both formal study and practical training delivery both nationally and internationally. As the Professional Development Manager for New Horizons Melbourne, Stan is responsible for the delivery, quality control and enhancement of existing and new programs at New Horizons.

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