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The art of giving and receiving feedback

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Leadership, Teams

Feedback is the breakfast of champions some say. Well, what if you don’t like breakfast? 😉

Giving feedback to your colleagues at work can be challenging. It’s a shame because feedback is an opportunity to develop skills and identify areas of improvement. Giving feedback is a powerful tool that needs to be handled carefully. Therefore, we’ll walk you through 4 basic steps to help you give feedback like a champion!

Giving feedback

Context – First you identify the situation. Try to give the other person a reference point for the behavior in question. Sometimes, mentioning evidence of behavior helps here too.

Observation – Describe the behavior in a clear, objective and concise way. Focus on actions rather than personality. Try to be as specific as possible, so things don’t get lost in interpretation. Often people say things like “you could have been more welcoming” while “I would have liked it if you’d smiled when welcoming us” is much more effective. 

Impact – Help the other understand your feedback by describing its impact on you, the team or any environment it impacts. Besides, try to give the feedback in “I” statements, to avoid labeling the other person.

Next steps – After the difficult part, don’t forget to offer suggestions on what the other can do to improve. What can they do differently next time?


Receiving feedback

On the other hand, getting better at receiving feedback will increase personal development and build trust in your relationships. It will make you more influential. Remember that the more practice you get, the better you will become at it!

Sounds great, but receiving feedback is tough. Don’t avoid it! We’ve got you covered with these tips:

Listen actively – Make sure that you turn those ears on and take in what the situation is. Try not to interrupt, contest or explain while you are receiving feedback. 

Summarize – Provide a summary of what you’re hearing. Was this what the other person was trying to say? How do you feel about that? Review and clarify what has been observed to understand the effects of your behavior. 

Recognize – Thank the feedback giver and recognize that they are willing to put the feedback out there even though it can put them into an uncomfortable position. 

Understanding – Ask questions that help you both move forward. Are you both clear on the feedback and how to change behavior in the future? Ask for specifics if you don’t feel like you understand the feedback. Pro tip: follow up when implementing your “new behavior” to evaluate your adjustments!

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