How to give productive feedback

A lot of people feel personally attacked when they are given feedback and subconsciously immediately adopt a defence position. It doesn’t take long to find reasons why the possibly negative feedback isn’t correct, respectively why the concrete form of behaviour in the situation was precisely the correct one. If it comes to this defence position the feedback fizzles out. The executive cannot bring about a change of behaviour and the employee misses a chance to be made aware of a blind spot and so to develop himself/herself.

But how can I, as an executive, give my co-workers the feedback so that they can also accept it? – The following general rules help to formulate professional feedback and to take it adequately.

Giving feedback:

  • Describe your own perception instead of assessing the other one
  • Stay concrete. Avoid generalisations such as ‘You are always late’. Describe concrete situations and concrete observed behaviour instead.
  • Always also report positive aspects in general feedback talks.
  • Directly address the feedbak-taker instead of giving something as feedback that you have heard from somebody else.

Taking feedback:

  • Just listen, do not justify yourself. In this way you take feedback as the chance that it is – that is      to discover your own blind spots and so to get the chance of advancing yourself.
  • Let what has been said have an impression on you, sort it out later. Of course every feedback is always just a personal impression, and different people will perceive your behaviour differently. Decide afterwards which feedback was a help for you and what you would like to change in your behaviour.

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