Giving Feedback

We are convinced that a major key to the creation of a productive and positive work environment is to deliver constructive, specific and timely feedback. We all know that people need to feel connected to their workplace to give and to keep giving their best effort. Feedback is the cheapest, most powerful and yet most under-used motivational tool available.

Feedback requires a complex set of skills. We encourage you to continue developing your individual and organisational feedback skills. Without feedback our capacity to grow and influence others is diminished.

There are many barriers to giving feedback - time, skills, fear of consequences to name a few. A major barrier is that people often find it very difficult to give honest feedback. This is due to a range of reasons, including cultural norms, power differences and fear of conflict. Developing skills in giving and receiving feedback is essential if the process is to be constructive. Here are some tips for preparing to give feedback.

Prior to the Meeting

  • Make sure you are fully briefed about all details of the FCF-360 process.
  • Review the Feedback Report, looking for major patterns and themes.
  • Spend no more than 20 minutes reviewing the report, otherwise you risk over interpretation. Your role is to facilitate not diagnose. You cannot interpret an FCF-360 report without the participant.
  • Arrange to spend one to two hours with the participant in a quiet location away from all distractions.

Beginning of the Meeting

  • Confirm the purpose of the 360-degree project, explain how the Feedback Report will be used and confidentiality. Outline the role of the facilitator and the session process. Be assertive, specific and supportive at all times.
  • Reinforce that 360-degree feedback is simply a collection of perceptions. Assess the levels of defensiveness in the participant’s body language and verbal responses. Concentrate on establishing a rapport if there is evidence of resistance to feedback seems evident.
  • Ask the participant who was in their rating team. Explain that the participant is likely to find the feedback useful and interesting. It is your role to ensure that the session is constructive.
  • Ask the participant to list three of their strengths and three challenges which they face in their current role.
  • Ask the participant to give a summary of the feedback they have obtained in their career to date and the knowledge that has resulted from this feedback.
  • Ask the participant to describe their relationship with their manager and team.
  • Spend no more than five minutes on this introductory activity, as participants will be keen to explore the report.

During the Meeting

  • Ask clarifying questions to stimulate insights.
  • Use tentative/hypothetical language when building a picture with the participant.
  • Observe and provide feedback about visible behaviour linked to the report.
  • Provide support and encouragement – lead with the positives.
  • Help the participant to identify key themes within the report. What are some of the overall messages?
  • Identify major gaps and similarities between the self-rating and the perception of other raters.
  • Focus only on behaviours not the personality.
  • Try and make sure that the Participant is providing most of the comments.

End of the Meeting

  • Brainstorm options for improvement and development.
  • Develop a few specific actions that can form the basis of an Action Plan.
  • Ask them for feedback about the process. You can gain ongoing feedback for your own development by asking this question.
  • Thank the participant.

Follow Up

  • Encourage the participant to have a follow-up meeting with their manager. Participants usually have questions about the ratings given to them by their manager. It is also important for the manager to be
  • involved in ongoing development plans
  • Encourage the participant to give their rating team some feedback about what they learned from the process

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.

Free report

Creating a feedback culture