Effective Feedback

One area consistently gives both managers and employees difficulty – the need to give and accept effective feedback.

The problem is that giving effective feedback is one of the most crucial elements you can to do help employees improve performance. It establishes a connection between what employees are doing and how actions are perceived by others. Although most would rather have an abscessed tooth than receive feedback, there is a need to gently convey that no feedback can be much worse.

Giving feedback is not about dishing out criticism. Unfortunately, this often proves to be the case when managers find themselves under pressure. It is at these times that emotions get in the way of effective management. Under stress, all carrots harden into sticks which the manager uses to whip their employees into shape.

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Seth Godin's Rules for Giving Great Feedback

  • No one cares about your opinion. We want your analysis.
  • Say the right thing at the right time.
  • If you have something nice to say, please say it.
  • Give me feedback, no matter what.

Feedback Quotes

We believe we do a better job at giving feedback than we really do.
Rick Maurer

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.
Kenneth Blanchard

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain ... and most fools do.
Dale Carnegie

I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.
Charles Schwab

A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.
Chinese Proverb

Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they're going to make mistakes.
Ross Perot

Criticism is driven by the frustration and fears of the giver, not from the needs of the recipient. The underlying assumption is that the recipient somehow "should know better" and needs to be set straight. The implied message is that the recipient's intentions are questionable, that there is something wrong with the recipient that the giver of criticism knows how to fix. In criticism, the problem is all in the recipient.

In contrast, feedback has an air of caring concern, respect, and support. Far from being a sugar cookie, feedback is an honest, clear, adult to adult exchange about specific behaviors and the effects of those behaviors. The assumption is that both parties have positive intentions, that both parties want to be effective and to do what is right for the company and other people. Another assumption is that well-meaning people can have legitimate differences in perception. The person offering the feedback owns the feedback as being his reaction to the behavior of the other person. That is, the giver recognizes the fact that what is being offered is a perception, not absolute fact.
Gary R. Casselman & Timothy C. Daughtry