May 6, 2022

How to give feedback in a valuable and constructive way?

Communication
How to give feedback in a valuable and constructive way?

Giving and receiving feedback is one of the most stressful activities in teamwork. We never know for sure whether we are doing it properly or not offending our co-workers, and at the same time, if we make it clear and if it will be used in practice. This is a nervous moment both for the person who gives feedback and also for the one who receives it. So how do you do it right? What rules to follow to minimize stress and maximize efficiency? Read our article!

Quick navigation:

1. What is constructive feedback?

2. Benefits of constructive feedback

   2.1. Improved performance of the entire team, at every step of the project, at every level of the relationship

   2.2. Professional development

   2.3. Conflict prevention

   2.4. Increased employee engagement

   2.5. Responding to the needs of employees

3. Giving feedback properly - 11 tips

   3.1. Think about your motives

   3.2. Make a private conversation

   3.3. Be timely

   3.4. Make regular feedback session

   3.5. Prepare yourself

   3.6. Focus on limiting things

   3.7. Be specific and provide examples

   3.8. Watch your language

      3.8.1. Use "I" statements

      3.8.2. Avoid “but”

      3.8.3. Use the past tense

      3.8.4. Use verbs

   3.9. Be aware of your body language 

   3.10. Give the other person space to react

   3.11. Leave written feedback too

4. Mistakes when giving feedback

   4.1. Don't surprise

   4.2. Watch the atmosphere

   4.3. Don't react emotionally

   4.4. Be open to feedback from employees

   4.5. Don't use the feedback sandwich technique

5. Conclusion

What is constructive feedback?

It is not easy to define constructive feedback well. Many consider it as advice, praise, or constructive criticism, but this is not entirely true. Good feedback is based on information or a reaction that is a response to specific actions of a specific person or group. We can distinguish between positive feedback and negative feedback - both are key and neither should be ignored. The main purpose of the feedback is to improve behaviors, processes, and the way of working to perform a given task in the best possible way. Get quick feedback from website visitors, SaaS clients & mobile app users without interrupting the user journey. Set custom feedback button triggers to instantly collect feedback at every touchpoint.

Benefits of constructive feedback

Whether you are a team member or a team leader, giving and receiving feedback has a tremendous impact on work efficiency. Although it takes time and commitment to develop a good way to share feedback, it is worth remembering these advantages at any time:

Improved performance of the entire team, at every step of the project, at every level of the relationship

Two-way feedback is especially important for getting to know each other's features and skills, which translates into better cooperation.

Professional development

Thanks to regular feedback sessions, it is easier to distinguish features that are worth developing and adjust the development path to specific people.

Conflict prevention

Constant feedback allows you to see the growing disputes before they turn into active conflicts. Regular talk and sharing of opinions facilitate an open discussion.

Increased employee engagement

Feedback sessions are not only about striving for improvement, but also a moment to celebrate small and bigger successes. Appreciation of efforts drives you to work and gives you more satisfaction.

Responding to the needs of employees

Research shows that as many as 72% of employees under 30 would like to receive feedback on a daily or weekly basis. This shows how great the need for feedback is, which makes it easier to meet all the points above.

Giving feedback properly - 11 tips

tips

Think about your motives

Before you decide to give someone feedback, think about the motives behind your decision. It is natural that managers give feedback to their subordinates, and project managers give feedback to team members, but even behind their actions, there is an intention. Remember that feedback aims to improve, avoid criticism, or trying to humiliate someone. In teams with healthy relationships, this behavior should not take place.

Make a private conversation

conversation

When you have decided to give feedback, organize it so that the conversation - live or video, takes place only with you and the person to whom you provide feedback. It's a good idea to mark the achievements with the whole team but wait for the one-on-one meeting with critical feedback and its details.

Be timely

The right moment should come to provide feedback, do not delay the meeting, do not postpone it indefinitely, and also let your emotions subside. A healthy distance to work allows you to see more. Also, try to give short feedback on a regular basis after short tasks to prevent the situation that you are considering monthly or yearly work.

Make regular feedback session

Regularity in providing feedback is a key part of team relations, as each team member knows when to expect a one-on-one session and can prepare for it. Giving regular constructive feedback develops good habits and allows you to get used to this often uncomfortable situation.

Prepare yourself

preparation

Before making an appointment, think about what you want to say. It's a good idea to write down the points you want to talk about. Remember not to approach the feedback emotionally, but rather substantively. At the same time, avoid spontaneity, it may not be the worst with positive feedback, but with negative feedback, it will hurt.

Focus on limiting things

A feedback conversation, as every conversation cannot be fully remembered. It has been proven that we usually remember best what was said at the beginning and the end. Therefore, don't overdo the number of issues you make. Explain one or two in a single meeting so that conclusions can be heard and future changes take effect.

Be specific and provide examples

When you're preparing to give feedback, you can't forget the principle: from general to specific. What does it mean? Focus on the overall impression and conclusions at first, then move on to more specific points. Remember about concrete facts and specific examples at each stage. Focus on what needs to be improved, stick to facts, quotes, and specific behaviors, and don't beat around the bush.

Watch your language

language

Language, tone, and manner of expression are 50% of success in giving feedback. It depends on them how we will be understood and whether our feedback will meet with resistance or approval. Sometimes, our body language can have a direct impact on team member's behavior.

Use "I" statements

When giving constructive feedback, express yourself from your perspective. Do not cover yourself with other people, the entire team, or clients. This way you will avoid misunderstandings and at the same time make your feedback more valuable. Mark what you liked, how you felt, and if something was working for you.

Avoid “but”

Have you heard that "but" erases everything that was said before? This unofficial rule also translates into giving feedback. Avoid using "but" in a sentence, because this way you can discredit someone, and even if your intentions to give positive feedback were sincere, one word can cancel out all the merits.

Use the past tense

When giving feedback, we usually refer to situations from the past, so it is worth remembering that the tense we use should be past. Say that someone behaved, was, did, and not that he behaves, is, and does. Such an overtone can be negatively perceived. Even reading this sentence, you get the feeling that it doesn't sound very good, right? Effective feedback is not punishing a disobedient child, but trying to improve, so be specific.

Use verbs

Try to use as many verbs as possible to describe specific behaviors and situations in your feedback. Do not say someone is rude, but mark specific behavior such as "You shouted at the customer several times and said goodbye by slamming the door." Such a picture of the situation will allow you to look at a distance, and not judge in advance.

Be aware of your body language 

argument

The arrangement of hands, facial expressions, the posture we adopt, and the position in which we talk - all have a huge impact on the course of our conversation. You need to be extremely careful with your body language, as it often expresses more than words, and even the nicest ones when uttered with a grimace on your face will lose their value. Take care of an open posture and a cheerful disposition, be positive, do not cross your arms over your chest, do not roll your eyes, and do not attack with your posture being too close to the interlocutor. Act naturally but be aware at the same time.

Give the other person space to react

Giving feedback is, as already mentioned, a stressful situation for both parties. That is why it is so important to remember the other party's feelings and give them space to react. Perhaps he or she is unable to accept criticism or needs time to think about conclusions. Wait for it, try not to push, and be open to discussion. There is a high probability that questions and doubts will arise. Don't make common mistakes like leaving this person alone or avoiding contact.

Leave written feedback too

The conversation in providing constructive feedback session is very important, but it is worth submitting comments and conclusions from the meeting in writing so that you can always come back to them. This will make it easier to make improvements in the future, but also allow you to quickly remember what was going on when the excess responsibilities overwhelm you. A good tool for leaving feedback is HeySpace, where each task has its comment section, it is the perfect place to exchange thoughts without unnecessarily involving the entire team in a group chat.

Mistakes when giving feedback

mistakes

There are no infallible people, sticking to the principles we presented above will make it easier for you to give feedback. However, there are a few more points that should be avoided when giving feedback. Read these 5 tips and use them in practice.

Don't surprise

This is a rule related to regularity and being timely. Try to plan meetings and anticipate interlocutors who want to prepare for one-on-one just like you. Pulling someone out from behind the desk during work may not only cause irritation but also prevent our feedback from being heard because it will be overshadowed by emotions.

Watch the atmosphere

If you see that someone is in a bad mood or has problems, do not try to share the feedback by force. This could be counterproductive. Likewise, if you are not in the best mood and are looking for someone to argue with, skip any meetings immediately.

Don't react emotionally

We can never predict the course of the meeting and there may be situations in which, despite our preparation and our goodwill, we will not be understood. Therefore, control your emotions and approach any dramatic situations calmly. A healthy distance can help the other side to get under control as well.

Be open to feedback from employees

Giving constructive criticism shouldn't work just one way. Although we associate the feedback with receiving information from our supervisor, you also need to take into account the opinion of employees. They are the ones who often see something that the manager does not notice, so it is worth encouraging them to talk and listen in detail.

Don't use the feedback sandwich technique

This is the worst possible solution when giving feedback because it allows you to cleverly mask what is most valuable. We are able to say that this is a cowardly method to throw off the responsibility of the feedback giver. Ultimately, it will not lead to any change.

Conclusion

Giving constructive feedback is a demanding task for the entire team. It presents a challenge that we hope you will meet with our tips. Remember that focusing only on the negatives is not always a good idea, so it's worth appreciating your employees with a good words and praise.

Good luck and stay connected with us!

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