In leadership, coaching, mentoring and any other way of leading people providing feedback is crucial to development. It helps developing the relationship between individuals. It helps developing skills, knowledge and behaviour of individuals. Some feedback is productive, some is not. Though a crucial skill, only little attention is paid to the “how to feedback…”. Let me summarise three tips to provide genuine and mindful feedback.
Honest and genuine feedback is a gift
Feedback involves judgement. And the judgment is the opinion of the person who provides feedback. So, it is not objectively true or necessarily the best advice. For the receptor of feedback, it is essential to know the person or have an idea where the speaker comes from. Trust and confidence are the basis upon which the receptor will accept or not.
My personal experience is that providing valuable and genuine feedback requires honesty, transparency and a quiet mind. The other person “knows” if your feedback is honest or …. manipulative. Honest and genuine feedback is a gift to someone, an act of commitment and sincerity – some call it love. How to present the gift? Three steps!
Three Steps: Facts –> Interpretation –> Advice
Mention the facts: I see / notice that you –facts-. Feedback involves judgement and interpretation of facts. Don’t start with the judgement! “I see that you are nervous”. That might be true but is still a judgement of the behaviour of the other. So start with: I can see that you are using your hands a lot while talking. Or: you are walking a lot through this room, seemingly more than usual.
Mention your interpretation or opinion: I get the impression … . From a personal perspective, give your opinion starting with “I”. So: I have the impression you are a bit nervous, is that true? Or: given the underperformance I sense that you are lacking some knowledge for the job. It is clear that you give your personal opinion.
Provide advice: “you could think of …”. Give an advice that makes sense to you. When honest and sincere it will impress. I am sure.And do not be disappointed if someone does not take the advice, because everyone has a choice. Either he listens and takes it or he chooses not to do so.
Have a good Feed Back!
Living in Australia, in a very multi-cultural environment, providing feedback is “interesting”. People come from Australian, Asian, Latin-American and European backgrounds. In receiving and questioning feedback all things such as politeness and respect (“you don’t argue”), strong opinions about self, pride and misunderstanding because of different understanding of the English language may get in the way. However, when done mindfull, genuine and according to this three rules you will be understood! Have a good Feed Back!