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Giving feedback can be a positive learning experience for all involved. However, it’s important for leaders to know when, where, and how best to give feedback. These choices often depend on the context.
When you offer feedback close in time to the event that triggers it, its value is greater. This is particularly the case when you want to improve performance. If you delay performance problems could get worse, leading to further delays and costs.
However, there can also be good reasons to delay giving feedback. Sometime, mistakes happen late in the life cycle of a project. Many projects have a ‘lessons learned’ process at the end where feedback will have maximum effect.
Also, choose a time when you have the attention of the person receiving the feedback. This ensures that the feedback is heard and acted upon. For example, suppose that you learn that one of your salespeople is being rude to customers on the phone. You know that you need to address this problem as quickly as possible, to ensure you don’t start losing customers. So you set a time to meet privately with the salesperson and give the feedback. You don’t what the salesperson to be distracted by his phone, so you chose a time when he’s not committed to handling calls.
This may depend on the context that triggers it – for example, following a presentation, or a meeting in which something untoward happens.
With remote working, where colleagues are located elsewhere, face-to-face feedback may be restricted to conference or video calls. This can bring its own challenges because the communication isn’t as personal. And technical problems can get in the way of a focused conversation.
Suppose two of your team members get into a heated discussion during a team meeting. This derails the meeting, and other team members feel their time is wasted listening to what they regard as a petty argument. When the meeting is over, you ask the two team members to stay behind in the meeting room. You want to give them immediate feedback, but you don’t want to do so in front of other team members. If this deteriorates into another tedious argument between the two, you should meet with each of them privately in your office.
You have a number of choices: spoken, written, alone, or with others present.
Widely dispersed teams, remote working, and long-distance travel will frequently dictate the means of giving feedback. Good intentions can be literally lost in translation between speakers of different native languages and cultures. But also be mindful of the unintended consequences of text or email messages, where people might misread the tone of the communication.
Suppose you’ve asked members of your team to give short presentations updating other team members about their progress in the project. However, some team members deliver rambling, long, unfocussed presentations, leading to frustration among other team members. You know you’re going to have to follow up directly with some team members. However, you think that everyone on the team could benefit from a reminder on how to structure snappy update presentations for the team. So you email the entire team with guidelines on how to present updates and ask everyone to ensure the guidelines are implemented in their next presentations. If some presentations haven’t improved by your next meeting, you can deliver individual feedback next time round.Back to Top
Bill Phillips is an International Facilitator, Trainer, and Team Coach.
In this module, Bill is the instructor for the ‘Leading With Emotional Intelligence’, 'How to Delegate to Your Team', and 'Providing Effective Feedback' lessons.
Kevin Reid is CEO of Personal Skills Training, Senior Coach at Kevin J Reid Coaching, Co-founder and Communications Director of The Counsel.ie, and Lead Collaborator of LeitrimMade.com.
In this module, Kevin is the instructor for the ‘Coaching and Mentoring’ lesson.
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
As a leader, you will only be as successful as the people who work with you. So it makes sense to build the best, most effective teams possible, and get the most out of your daily interactions with colleagues.
This module will introduce you to the concept of emotional intelligence – a skill that should be in every leader’s toolkit. Emotional intelligence can help you enhance your working relationships at all levels, and you should aim to practice it every day in the workplace.
You will also learn about coaching and mentoring – and how these two activities can bring out the best in your employees.
In addition, you will learn about delegation. How can you delegate successfully? What tasks should you delegate? And how can you ensure you get the best results? The lesson on delegation provides you with the answers.
Finally, the module also looks at feedback, and explains why leaders should never be afraid to provide it – even when the feedback is negative.