5 steps to provide feedback that’s helpful, not hurtful


What one talent do you suppose has the best optimistic affect on office tradition and efficiency?

From my years of serving to leaders create a tradition of accountability, I’ve discovered that the flexibility to provide feedback straight and respectfully makes the most important and most rapid optimistic distinction to people and organizations.

Opposite to widespread perception, most individuals need to hear how they will enhance—so long as that feedback is delivered effectively. Regrettably, only 26% of staff strongly agree that the feedback they obtain is useful. This implies most managers are failing at offering feedback. That’s an enormous danger, given the Nice Resignation we’re experiencing. When managers don’t provide feedback effectively, it prompts four out of five staff to begin on the lookout for a brand new job.


If you consider what stuff you excel at, it’s probably that receiving feedback in your efficiency helped you get to the place you are actually. Loads of research exhibits that well-delivered feedback improves efficiency. Certainly, 94% of individuals agree that corrective feedback improves their efficiency when introduced effectively. Managers can’t afford to wing it or depend on an outdated feedback mannequin when delivering robust messages.

When it’s linked with affirmations, feedback can succeed as a result of it’s a replicable course of. Don’t make your staff surprise what it takes to please you. If you need your folks to carry out at a excessive degree, provide a gradual stream of reaffirming feedback. We’re all addicted to the chemical dopamine, which is launched in our brains once we are praised. We repeat behaviors that we’ve got been praised for as a result of we instinctively need one other dopamine hit.

Furthermore, should you fail to ship well timed feedback, your staff’ habits is unlikely to change. Failing to provide feedback will change nothing. And also you solely will maintain seeing the habits that you just proceed to tolerate. If you happen to don’t deal with problematic habits, anticipate it to worsen, as a result of staff take their supervisor’s silence as tacit approval.

When feedback fails

However the advantages of feedback, analysis has proven that feedback can hurt performance when delivered poorly or when it comes within the type of a year-end assessment. 12 months-end evaluations must be about reviewing successes and classes realized and discussing how to make subsequent 12 months even higher. It ought to not be about rubbing staff’ noses of their errors and offering unfavourable feedback to justify a less-than-desirable elevate.

Feedback usually fails for 2 causes:

  • Too oblique. In a clumsy try to spare an worker’s emotions, I’ve seen managers soften their enchancment feedback a lot that staff stroll away considering they’ve simply been praised, utterly oblivious to the issue their supervisor was making an attempt to level out.
  • Too harsh. When folks really feel disrespected by feedback, their brains interpret it as an assault, which triggers the fight-or-flight response. This shuts down the problem-solving a part of the receiver’s mind, they usually have a tendency to both aggressively problem the feedback or seem contrite after which quietly plot their revenge.

Steps of offering useful feedback

These 5 steps will considerably enhance your potential to ship robust messages straight and respectfully.

  • Ask for feedback earlier than giving it. Enchancment feedback is certain to land badly if the folks giving it by no means ask for feedback themselves. You will need to display that feedback is a present, or everybody else will query your motives and affiliate it with punishment. Frequently requesting feedback offers you the ethical authority to provide it.
  • Start with a query, not an announcement. Managers are rated 4 occasions simpler at offering feedback in the event that they hear to the opposite particular person’s views earlier than offering theirs. Asking in regards to the scenario in query permits the opposite particular person to share necessary information that you could be not learn about.
  • Share observations, not conclusions. Most feedback strategies encourage managers to put together a monologue. That is the primary motive why feedback fails. Feedback is a dialogue. You do not have a monopoly on the reality. All you may have is a perspective, so ensure to state it as such.
  • Ask for clarification. Your perspective could not be 100% right. After stating what you’re observing, ask for his or her perspective to get all of the information on the desk. If you happen to give others the chance to share further information earlier than you draw a conclusion, you may study one thing that adjustments your perspective. You’ll additionally keep away from leaping to conclusions and looking out silly.
  • Deal with bettering the longer term. Maybe staff will provide some further details about the scenario that explains their actions, which often is the finish of it. If, nonetheless, you continue to really feel they might have carried out one thing else to produce higher outcomes, acknowledge the brand new info after which ask, “What else may very well be carried out to stop this example from taking place sooner or later?” Regardless of how the dialog unfolds, the secret is to come to an settlement about what one or each of you are able to do in a different way to produce higher outcomes.
  • Comply with just a few of those items of recommendation to make sure the feedback you provide be just right for you as an alternative of in opposition to you.


    Michael Timms is a management improvement advisor, writer, and speaker specializing in succession planning and creating accountable cultures. He’s the writer of How Leaders Can Inspire Accountability.