Giving feedback means providing an interpretation of an experience without being critical. The eight steps of bold feedback coincide with the four bold principles. I call it The Art of Feedback
Principle 1: Assume Innocence
1. Make your feedback sincere. Feedback must come from a desire to improve performance.
2. Make your feedback timely. Offer it as soon as appropriately possible.
3. Choose a comfortable place. Always deliver in private feedback that is not positive. Consider a private setting for even positive feedback.
Principle 2: Build a Bridge
4. Preface your request with feedback. Before requesting someone to change their behavior, a leader should provide specific feedback first to support that request. Make sure to ask the listener for permission before delivering feedback. If the feedback is obligatory, ask when the listener would like to hear it.
Principle 3: Speak Your Truth
5. Be specific and objective. Avoid interpreting behaviors; instead, simply note specific behaviors. Refrain from unspecific labels (e.g. enthused, bad attitude). Focus on what behaviors happened, not what should have happened or could in the future.
6. Make it relevant to the organization. Draw connections between feedback and organization’s goals and statistics. Note how the behavior affected the organization.
Principle 4: Invite Dialogue
7. Make this a discussion. Always ask for the listener’s response after giving feedback. Listen openly, paraphrase the response, and reply to the teammate’s reaction.
8. Make the discussion a start, not an end. Offer advice and encouragement, and leave the door for communication open.
Positive feedback should be as specific as constructive feedback.
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