Feedback is a tricky module and we, at Engagedly, have been doing some in-depth research on it. While exploring various perspectives, we also came across The Feedback Fallacy. This research piece of Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall got us thinking about how best we can refine and implement a feedback procedure that will take us one more step closer to our holistic approach of employee fulfillment and people enablement.
About corrective or constructive feedback, the authors state that,
Focusing people on their shortcomings doesn’t enable learning; it impairs it.
Furthermore, they believe that excellence comes easily when we focus only on the positives, and do not dwell on the negatives:
It’s that people contribute their own unique and growing talents to a common good, when that good is ever-evolving, when we are, for all the right reasons, making it up as we go along. Feedback has nothing to offer to that.
While we do not completely agree to this claim, we do believe that constructive feedback, when put forth with tact and wisdom, can help employees and coworkers more than when we do not share any corrective feedback. Though, we do agree with the Harvard Business Review authors that harping only on the negatives can have adverse effects, and it can hamper employee productivity and engagement.
Also read: Getting Started With Real Time Performance Management
So what’s the best way of providing feedback?
It’s a million dollar question! The humans of Engagedly believe in sharing feedback that is constructive and reformative, yet encouraging. Here are some pointers that we like to keep in mind while sharing feedback:
While providing feedback, don’t assume what motivation or intention the feedback receiver had behind their actions. Our job is not to build up any stories around anything. It is important to keep aside anything that is not tangible truth and concentrate on articulating what your feelings are around it. You need to approach it from a position of humility, from your own point of view and express your experience and subjective observations.
Express with clarity:
It’s not a happy job to point out flaws in tasks or people. We are not asking you to… because they are not flaws. They are just roadblocks, which once removed, can serve as an impetus for tremendous growth. So when you share feedback with your employees or coworkers, express it with clarity. Let them know that, from your perspective, a slight change can bring about positive outcomes.
Feedback that’s shared with the intent of growth and motivation, cannot focus on general statements and judgements. Because of our subjective opinions and perspectives towards situations, we do not hold the capability to share generalisations or judgements. Target specific behaviours or lack of them, and how that is affecting the output. That’s all should be the content of your feedback. It’s a direct and clearcut way of sharing feedback, without beating around the bush.
Manager: “Robert, your presentation could’ve been more elaborate. I could not get a hang of what you wanted to convey.”
The above example expresses a manager’s concern at not getting a clear picture out of a presentation, but he fails to convey, in which area it lacks clarity. When the same feedback is expressed differently, it can have a very positive impact on Robert.
Manager, “Robert, in my opinion, your presentation was crisp and precise. I loved the insightful information about conversions. But in the sales section, it would have helped me if the information was represented in numbers as well.”
In the above example, the manager is very clear that it’s a subjective feedback, where Robert’s presentation helped him in certain ways, but failed to keep him well-informed with certain other data. There are no generalizations or judgements involved here.
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Yes, last but the most important point that we believe in, is intention. Anything you do with the right intention, will always reap the right outcome. So when we share feedback, we keep the intention of positivity and growth in our minds. We always strive to deliver feedback that help individuals detect the roadblocks and turn them into propellers towards success. We let the feedback receivers know that we care for them and wish for them to correct themselves and move towards fulfillment.
Without feedback, we cannot always know or be aware of the little roadblocks that are holding us back from achieving greatness. So it’s important for them to keep coming our way. It’s not the concept of feedback that is wrong, it’s how we share it, that makes the difference.
Now that we have shared our thoughts with you on how to share constructive feedback and whether feedback is an important element for success, we would love to know your thoughts on this matter. Feel free to drop in your comments below!
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