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Useful Ways to Give Better Feedback for Organizations

Feedback - Fotolia_162342627_S

Feedback is important right? A part of our everyday lives. It helps us make progress, and which one of us does not benefit from that? As it relates to work, research shows that one of the best ways to help employees thrive is to give them feedback. 

Negative or directive feedback provides guidance, leading people to become, over time, more certain about their behavior and more confident in their competence.

As a communicator, I am always looking at ways to communicate more effectively. In communication, be it giving feedback or receiving it, one of the things I always start with is intention. Am I giving feedback with the right intention. 

Intention according to the Oxford Dictionary is, “a thing intended; an aim or plan”.

The power of setting your intentions before communicating is that it helps you to focus on what you want to have happen instead of being buffeted every which way by feelings, random thoughts, distractions or even the reactions of your listeners.

You must choose a strong and specific action in pursuit of that clear and tangible objective. A strong intention behind your words will fuel the emotion of your delivery.

Once that is out of the way, you are clear and free to give your honest feedback.

What the best kind of feedback to give?

Even though feedback can be positive (and it should in theory produce a positive result), often people equate feedback with receiving criticism. I take criticism well, but not everybody does. It can be a delicate process, but assessing a person’s progress can lead to improvement and growth. So communicators have paid attention as to how to give effective feedback across the lines. 

According to an article in Entrepreneur magazine, there should be five steps to giving productive feedback.

  1. Create safety - If the person receiving the feedback doesn't feel comfortable, this can cause the feedback to ultimately be unproductive.
  2. Be positive - Give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative.
  3. Be specific - People generally respond better to specific, positive direction.
  4. Be immediate - Productive feedback requires giving it frequently. 
  5. Be direct, not mean - This goes right back to intention.

In author Daniel Coyle’s book, The Culture Code a study of teachers is cited to show that just 19 words had a dramatic effect on people. The 19 words are: 

“Im giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know you can reach them”.

Why did that work? 

  • It builds trust,
  • It signals belonging, and;
  • It combines high standards with the assurance that people can reach those standards.

The whole purpose of feedback is to improve performance. Of course you need to measure whether or not that is happening and then make adjustments as you go. You can do this by documenting your conversations and discussing what is working and what needs to be modified.

By providing effective feedback well, you can ignite your employees, helping them and your organization thrive.


To find out more about The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, visit Daniel Coyle’s site

Topics: trends employment workforce efficiency Productivity learning