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I ended last week’s blog with the following questions:

  1. Can you imagine an organization where subordinates knew exactly what their supervisors were going to say in the formal performance appraisal conference?
  2. Do you work in an organization like that?
  3. If not, what can be done in your organization to make that possible?

I’ll answer these questions in this week’s blog!

People are most receptive to feedback when it is solicited. In addition to blogging and coaching, I want to be a world-class speaker. A few weeks ago, I represented our Toastmasters’ club in the district speech competition. In preparation for the contest, I presented the speech to club members. In addition to the designated evaluator, I solicited feedback from others. I accepted and incorporated 90% of the feedback in the competition and placed second. I craved feedback because I knew why and what I wanted to work on, and I trusted the people providing it.

Many people want to know how their behavior is being perceived by others but fear the consequences of asking. How easily a person will ask for feedback is related to the amount of trust in the interpersonal relationship.

However, most feedback is unsolicited. But the goal should be the same: improved behavior. Giving and receiving feedback is simply an exchange of information. However, how the exchange occurs is where it can get dicey. To get the desired results, ask yourself, “what do I want the receiver of the feedback to know think or feel?” That is a good way to match your intent with the desired outcome.

It starts with empathy. Take a moment to walk in the other person’s shoes mentally and emotionally. The more you convey how much you value, care for and trust the recipient, the easier it will be for them to accept it. The most effective feedback is timely, direct, descriptive and specific.

Give feedback in the moment, don’t wait and let it fester. If the actions of the person makes you angry to the point of an unhealthy outburst, take a deep breath and circle back when you can choose your words more carefully. Describe what the person did or said that was disturbing. Calmly ask their intent. By asking the person’s intent you will know for sure if the behavior (i.e., facial expressions, body language, etc.) matches their intent.

Supervisors should give feedback in the moment and track trends. Constant feedback both positive and constructive will demystify performance appraisal conferences. Catch employees doing things right. Remember the negativity bias: at least five positive comments to one constructive comment. Consider this approach and subordinates will know what to expect when it comes to that annual performance appraisal conference. Change your thoughts, change your destiny!

Source: Giving and Receiving Feedback: An interpersonal Skill, Phillip G Hanson