How Regularly Do You Give Feedback?
We see individuals at all levels of organisations, in all sectors, failing to give regular feedback whether it is good or bad.
It’s hard to pinpoint one reason for this failure but it is certainly a skill that is overlooked and under practiced by the majority. Some of the reasons we encounter include:
- Overlooking informal opportunities for feedback
- Apprehension of how feedback will be received
- Not seeing feedback as being part of routine communications
- Lack of confidence in own ability to vocalise feedback
- Believing that feedback is only given by those in power or with more authority
- Only providing feedback related to performance
- Only providing feedback for instruction
Of this list, the ability to recognise an opportunity to give feedback is the most pivotal when challenging the regularity with which feedback is given. Opportunities for feedback are not infrequent, they simply need to be recognised.
These opportunities can be formal and informal. Informal feedback tends to be more effective because it’s timelier; people get it as soon as a situation occurs or is completed. It also often has a motivational rather than instructional function.
Informal feedback should almost be spontaneous and is often about stopping to take the time to informally acknowledge somebody at work for having done something well.
Consider the last time you demonstrated this skill or experienced it yourself. For example have you ever provided timely feedback to somebody on how they ran or contributed to a meeting that you attended or when they have handled a difficult situation well?
Overall, giving feedback should be viewed as a positive thing that all of us should use to give recognition, support and encouragement. Beyond this it can help people to develop new skills and ways of working.
Of course there will be times when feedback is about having a difficult conversation but regular, timely feedback often achieves a change in behaviour or prevents problems from escalating. Regular and timely feedback, given with a positive spirit, helps to cement working relationships and creates an honest and open workplace.
Feedback will only happen when you seize the moment and provide it.