How to Get the Results You Want with Quality Feedback

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Featured, Individuals, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Women | 0 comments

Feedback meeting

Probably the most effective way to get the results you want from someone is to give quality feedback.

What does that consist of? Two things. The first is that it must be timely. The second is that it must be appropriate.


Timely feedback

Whether you have children or not, you know that the best time to give them feedback on their behavior is at the time you observe it. You praise them for good work and correct them when it isn’t up to scratch. And you know that they have understood what you said by what they do the next time.

But imagine for a moment what it would be like if you waited a year to say anything. Depending upon their age and / or circumstances, they might not even remember what happened. Not only would you have to remind them of it, but they would have been left completely in the dark with respect to your approval or disapproval. In other words, they wouldn’t know if they had behaved or misbehaved in your judgment. And that means that they probably would continue to act in that way until you finally did say something. This sort of thing can lead to behavioral problems. Kids will push their boundaries until they get enough resistance to change course.

Employees are much the same way. They need timely feedback from you. It’s unfair to them and ineffective for the organization if you wait until appraisal time, for example, to say anything about their work.


Appropriate feedback

Appropriate feedback is constructive. It may include criticism, but it is not limited to it. In order to provide this kind of feedback, you need to prepare for it. How do you do that?


There are five steps.


1. Know the goal before you start.

Let’s pick something that is the bane of many drivers: Speed traps. What’s the goal? To those who are caught, it is a means for the city to make money. But the truth is that speed limits are for the protection of the public. As speeds increase, reaction time goes down. The difference can be between a serious accident and a near miss. Most drivers, however, think that they have more skill behind the wheel than they actually do. Speed limits increase the margin for error.

The point is that when speed traps are used, it is because someone has decided in advance why they should be put in one place rather than another.

Before you give feedback to anyone, you need to have a clear idea why you’re giving it. The desired outcome should always be positive; that is, your goal should be either to get more of what you’ve observed or to correct it so that you can get the results that you want.


2. Listen

When you give feedback, listen to what the other person has to say. Unless he /she is overly optimistic or pessimistic, your thoughts and his / hers should closely align. This will set the stage for what you have to say.

Whatever you do, you don’t want the person to come away from the time of feedback dejected and demoralized. That’s because instead of improving the behavior, you instead may remove the little hope the he /she has. When the situation is hopeless, then there’s no point in trying. So you have to make every effort to avoid doing more harm than good, which is the opposite of what you intend.


3. Make the feedback a conversation

Rather than following the usual baloney about being positive, then negative and then ending on a positive note, make all of what is said a discussion about the topic at hand. That way it won’t feel contrived. The person won’t be waiting for the bad news or trying to balance it against anything good you may have to offer.


4. Learn your scripts

The scripts you need to learn are all the things you admire in that person. You need to know these cold. That’s so that you can talk about them freely, in a relaxed fashion, and with confidence. It’s so that you don’t choke on your words.

Sincerity is essential. That’s because if you can’t say it like you mean it, then no one will believe you, and your feedback will have been detrimental as well as a waste of your time.


5. Forget your scripts

The scripts you need to forget are those cleverly worded phrases that you think sound so cool. These rarely come off as well as you think they do even when on those rare occasions you say them as you should. They, too, sound contrived. That’s because you’re looking for a place to say them, and that prevents you from being spontaneous. Spontaneity is essential to a genuine conversation.


In psychology we say that you get the behavior that you reinforce. The feedback that you give is how you bolster those actions. If you give it in the right way, then both you and your organization will benefit. Otherwise, you’ll suffer for your ineptitude.

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