Whether or not you have a management position, if you work in a team, you often meet with the opportunity to give feedback to colleagues for their work. In many companies, regular feedback is provided between members of a smaller team or department. But it is not good to wait until those moments are organized for feedback - often, it is preferable to do it fast when the time comes when it would be good to tell a colleague that he did something less good or very well. 

Giving good feedback is a skill, and, like any skill, it can develop and improve with practice. So how do you provide helpful feedback from which the recipient even learns? Find out from this article.

How to give valuable and practical feedback at work

Whether you are a manager and you need to give feedback to the team or work in a group, and you want to provide feedback to your colleagues, the same principles apply. So here are some recommendations to aid you in getting effective and valuable feedback.

Clarify why you give feedback before doing so.

Before you go to a colleague and give him feedback, remember why you are doing it. This action aims to improve a person's situation or performance. You will get more if you have a positive approach and focus on improving. Of course, it does not mean that feedback is always positive, but it is good to be fair, honest, and balanced and not be offensive or very harsh and critical.

Provides timely feedback.

The sooner you handle the crisis, the better. Giving feedback is not about surprising someone. The sooner you do it, the more that person expects it. Also, remember that it is much easier to give feedback on a one-hour task that has not been done ok than it is to provide input on six months or a year of failed jobs.

If the situation involves a lot of emotions or anger, wait until everyone calms down before giving feedback. Then, the target will be more receptive, and you will avoid saying anything to your nerves that you may regret later.

Prepare your words.

You don't want to read a screenplay, but you must be clear about what you have to say. This will help you focus on what you have to convey. You can write down some ideas to go through if it helps you not to forget something, but it does not help to read, but speaks naturally and humanly, leaves room for questions, answers them, and maintains a constructive conversation.

Be specific and say what you noticed.

Use specific examples and start with the situation you want to give feedback on. Do not judge. You can tell how it made you feel or what the effect of that mistake was if it was something like that. Tell that person exactly what things need to be improved. Be specific, focus on the facts and leave no room for ambiguity. You might get into a harmful situation if you rely on other people's feedback.

Please choose one or two things to discuss when giving feedback and focus on them.

Explain the impact.

Mention the direct impact that resulted from that behavior and be as specific as possible. For example, saying, "When you're done without leaving room for discussion and debate, it made me feel like you didn't appreciate the team's views," is better and more effective than saying, "When you don't leave room for discussion, it seems that you are obsessed with control." Phrases like "made me feel" or "noticed" are harder to challenge and don't spark heated discussion.

Give concrete ideas for the next steps. 

Give some actionable suggestions (ideally just one or two) that the person can apply to change their behavior in the future. He will appreciate that you tell him a first step that can improve the situation. You can suggest he think about what he can do better, according to his personality and his style. You can leave him some questions that will provoke them to think.

He also mentions positive things when giving feedback.

A reasonable rule is to start with something positive. This helps the other person to relax. Also, try to end on a positive note. Otherwise, the interlocutor may feel inadequate or worthless. 

But don't overdo the sandwich technique - many people end up doing this and intersperse constructive feedback among too many positive statements (in situations where they want to convey something to improve). In this case, the other person may understand that he is doing very well and miss the part he must improve.

Do not criticize in public.

If positive feedback and congratulations on a good job are highly valued when they are made in public, criticism has the exact opposite effect. So when you have something to say about a situation in which a colleague may or may not have done something wrong, find an enclosed space where only you can be calm and uninterrupted.

Keep an open conversation.

Leave room for the other to listen, observe, ask questions, and give answers and explanations. Keep an open conversation, not a monologue. Show that you are available to help and mention that they can call you anytime if needed. Also, be open to receiving feedback, and you can encourage this.

It may not be easy to give feedback to colleagues you work with, but it's worth it and helps everyone in the long run. Try to do it more often, with short and open discussions, and you will notice the progress along the way - both in the behavior of your colleagues and in your ability to give feedback and have constructive conversations.


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