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4 tips for better feedback


1. Be constructive


When giving feedback - whether it is effusive recognition of a job well-done, or a corrective action to improve performance - it is important to offer constructive suggestions that go beyond simply being positive or negative. Being constructive means providing learning outcomes and next steps from a particular scenario. If a job was done well, explore with the person how this performance can be repeated and expanded on. If something needs to be improved, it is better to offer firm ideas for improvements, rather than unfiltered criticism.


2. Don’t wait


Feedback does not benefit from allowing time between delivering your thoughts and the action in question. Do not hold back feedback for only your formal performance review. Try to make it a regular part of your interactions with staff members – allowing praise to flow for good performance or corrective action to be taken as soon as an issue arises.


3. Be forthright


Negative feedback should be delivered in a way that it is sensitive to the employee’s feelings, and should be approached as a process with positive intent – creating a learning experience from where performance can be improved. At the same time, it is important to be clear on your particular concerns, and not to hold back issues for fear of offending somebody. Greater problems might be created if a concern is misunderstood or underestimated.


4. Don’t presume the worst


It is best to head into a more difficult feedback session with a positive demeanour and the expectations of a constructive and useful talk with a report. This helps set a positive tone to avoid conveying the sense that you are attacking the person with your comments, and should limit the chance that they are put on the defensive by your choice of words.
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