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Feedback That Has Impact

When delivering feedback it is important that you deliver it in a way that ensures the message of the feedback results is received with the impact it deserves. Often, the person receiving feedback can act in a defensive manner that will damage its effectiveness. You can avoid this by ensuring that the way you give feedback is not accusatory in nature.

Looking at the below steps will ensure your feedback has impact you desire.

Feedback steps

1. Be Specific

Feedback that is general is not constructive or of value to the feedback receiver. Telling them that their feedback was “good” doesn't let them analyse or evaluate their working habits and enable them to grow as an employee. It is important that any feedback you give is specific. Identify what exactly they do well and congratulate them, but also point out any areas that they could improve.

2. Focus on behaviour

Useful feedback will always be focused on a person’s behavior rather than their intentions or them as a person. By avoiding a direct critique of their personality or morals it helps them to avoid having a defensive reaction to this feedback. This will help with feedback not becoming a waste of time and money.

3. Be honest

It is important that any feedback you deliver is honest, sincere and given to help. People will know if it’s not, and the feedback they receive will not have the impact you desire.

4. Ask to give feedback

Feedback that has been asked to be given has more impact and is more powerful to the receiver. If you have a constructive thought about someone’s report or presentation, ask them if it would be okay with them for you to give them feedback.

5. Have conversations

Feedback with impact is when you give the feedback and then give the feedback receiver tips on actions they can take to improve their behaviors. Rather than just telling them what to do, you may find it helpful to ask them what they plan to do to improve their behavior and then converse with them what may be the best course of action. An employee is more likely to actively take on feedback when they have not been told what to do.

6. Be timely

In order for feedback to be effective and impactful it must be relevant. It is important that you deliver your feedback as soon as possible as it enables the feedback receiver to be able to identify their mistakes and how to improve.

7. Ask ‘How?’

Rather than just asking ‘why’ something happened, also ask ‘how?’ Ask the feedback receiver ‘how’ things happened or ‘how’ they can make sure it doesn’t happen again or even ‘how’ you can help them in the future. This will let them know you support them and enable them to better evaluate the situation.

8. Make sure feedback is understood

Make sure that the feedback receiver understands the feedback communicated. Do this by observing their behavioural changes or by asking them a question regarding the feedback issue.

9. Be Consistent

It is important that feedback is consistent. Say what you mean and stick to that. If you are constantly changing your mind the feedback receiver will become confused and no progress will be made.

Feedback is important to your organisational growth, so it is important that when it is given it has impact. The above tips will help ensure that any feedback you give will have impact and the receiver of the feedback avoids becoming angry or defensive.

About the Author: William Lang

William Lang
Bill Lang has over 25 years professional experience working as an organisation strategy and development consultant and C-suite Executive Coach. Early in his career he worked with KPMG, McKinsey &Co., Bain & Company and AXA as an Executive. His clients operate in over 50 countries and on all continents. He is former member of the Melbourne University Commerce Faculty and holds a MBA(Harvard) and B.Comm/LLB (Hons). He is the author and creator of the Scores on the Board skill development and improvement system.

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