Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
It is challenging to share good meaningful feedback.
However, a distinct responsibility of a leader is to provide and receive a compliment, encouragement, or tips on professional growth.
Also, good feedback is an opportunity to learn and improve the skills and performance of diverse learners.
Telling someone they did a good job is easy, and you can quote many specific examples.
But, providing constructive and immediate feedback in real-time is hard.
For some, it may damage self-esteem and result in negative employee performance.
Hence, understand the aspects of meaningful feedback and ensure the focus of the feedback is actionable.
While there are many aspects of giving feedback worth focusing on, we’re specifically talking about the FIVE aspects listed below:
– Future focus.
– Being candid.
– Ending with positivity.
When we nail these aspects in every meeting, the relationship between an employee and an employer will go a long way.
What is meaningful feedback?
Feedback means “providing a constructive response to an individual or group to improve their performance, enhance their development, and help them achieve their potential.”
In essence, it is a learning process for employees and leaders to improve performance, behavior, or ideation.
However, giving feedback is not always easy. That’s why you must know the key factors that go into giving meaningful feedback.
– First, feedback should be intended for the person who receives it. It will help the receiver understand the message clearly and make necessary improvements.
Also, deliver the feedback in a timely manner and regular basis so that the receiver can learn from it and make adjustments in their professional development.
– Secondly, feedback must be positive and constructive. It will help the receiver understand how to improve themselves.
Any negative comments must be put to rest, as they may burden the receiver’s mind with negative emotions and hinder their growth.
– Thirdly, give feedback in a way that is respectful to the receiver. It will help them feel acknowledged for their efforts and make them feel positive about their future work.
A great way is to repeat the feedback politely until the required change happens.
Feedback is not only for corporates. It can be on a student’s work at the university, about someone’s time management skills, or any other formative feedback in employees’ or students’ learning journey.
The importance of meaningful feedback
Giving meaningful feedback is crucial for a positive work environment.
Any type of feedback becomes meaningful when it is timely, relevant, constructive, honest, and open.
The feedback you provide must explore the strengths and weaknesses of the person receiving it and engage them at upper learning levels. (e.g., In the universities, teachers compare how A+ grade papers look with how C- paper looks, this technique onboards the student or the employee soon.)
Also, when the process is correct, it brings out the best in the person and enhances the cordial relationship between individuals and teams.
5 Aspects of Giving Meaningful Feedback
Time needed: 4 minutes
When giving feedback, consider a specific situation and the specific needs of the person receiving the feedback.
To give effective feedback, you must be sincere and encouraging while positively delivering your feedback.
Also, repeat your feedback as necessary so that the person receiving feedback can improve their behavior.
Everyone will feel supported and motivated to do their best work in each relationship when considering the below aspects.
- Focus on the future
It’s vital to focus on the future rather than the past when providing feedback.
Think about how the feedback will help the person better in their career. Let it be easy to understand.
Easy to understand means being clear without using complicated language or jargon.
It helps build constructive and positive relationships.
Additionally, avoid giving negative feedback. Instead, focus on the issues at hand and how to improve constructively.
- Specific and not generic feedback
Giving specific feedback is the best way to ensure that your feedback is understood and effective.
Specificity means providing specific information about the explicit behaviors that led to a positive or negative outcome.
Prepare notes on specific areas of improvement that you wish to convey. It may be about a performance period, incident, or specific behavior.
The learner will look for specificity from you.
As an employee, if someone is giving me feedback, I will look at the below points.
1. What is the feedback focussed on?
2. Did any specific incident trigger this feedback process?
3. What will be my takeaways from this feedback session?
Not all feedback needs to be in words; actions can provide effective feedback.
While feedback may often take the form of verbal comments or suggestions, even non-verbal means work, such as body language or facial expressions.
However, be very careful when using non-verbal means of communication.
It can get tricky to convey the right message.
Also, it’s essential to understand the reason for giving constructive or positive feedback and the intended outcomes.
- Feedback must be easily actionable for the learner.
All feedback must be actionable to be meaningful.
It must be specific and relevant to the individual receiving it.
As a leader, you must also help the employee define actions that help address the feedback you provide.
For example, if the employee’s performance is on a falling trend, encourage the employee to,
-Take up additional training in a specific area.
-Define a process to improve performance (a checklist, probably).
-Shadow a person who is performing better and copy the traits.
Furthermore, hand-hold the employee in the initial stages to bring them up to speed.
You can help improve an individual’s performance and foster a positive work environment by providing useful and actionable feedback.
- Be as candid as possible.
Don’t beat around the bush. When giving useful feedback, be candid about the situation.
There is no need to sugarcoat your comments or try to be diplomatic (In some cases, you may have to decide the best option as per the situation).
But being candid and to the point always works wonders for you and the employee receiving feedback.
Be specific and relevant to the situation at hand. For example, if you are reviewing someone’s work, be sure to provide feedback on the job performance, such as constructive feedback on how to improve.
Also, remember that your goal is not to criticize the person but help them improve themselves.
- End with positivity
There are several key aspects of feedback to consider when providing feedback.
Of the many, the most crucial aspect is how you end the feedback discussion.
You don’t want your employee to feel frustrated when they leave the room (not in all cases). The feedback sandwich technique works wonders.
Note: A feedback sandwich is a constructive feedback clubbed between two positive feedbacks.
While feedback must be clear and relevant, it should be specific, factual, and constructive.
It needs to be accurate and constructive as possible. It must also be timely and affirming.
After you have covered all of these, the best way to end is by being casual.
Focus your last 5-10 minutes of the meeting on connecting with the employee. Know what they have been doing lately.
Sometimes, these conversations lead to discoveries and employee strengths which can help better their performance that you may not imagine.
Also, ensure to ask them if they have any feedback for you. It is a big deal and a perfect tool to enhance employee performance.
These types of conversations usually end on a positive note without you making any extra effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of any feedback is simple. You want the employee to better themselves from what they currently are.
It is your responsibility to help the person you are giving feedback to improve their skills.
All feedback must be constructive and positive, and you should always take the time to understand the person you are giving feedback.
Explore the Hattie and Timperley feedback model to gain in-depth insights on feedback frameworks.
When it comes to giving feedback, there are a few common reasons – why people might struggle.
One of the main reasons is that they are not comfortable giving feedback.
It can be difficult for someone to open up and speak their mind.
Additionally, they may fear they will hurt the other person’s feelings. (It is way common.)
Fortunately, several techniques can help improve feedback-giving skills. One approach is to provide feedback constructively. It means that you try to find solutions to the issue at hand instead of simply issuing criticism.
Another approach is to give reflective feedback to the individual receiving the feedback. It means that you consider their circumstances and beliefs when providing feedback.
Finally, providing feedback as soon as possible after the incident occurs can be a good way of reducing the chances of conflict arising from feedback.
Feedback is an integral part of feedback management. It helps you and the receiver to understand the feedback process and how to improve it.
Feedback can help you learn from a feedback receiver’s perspective, promote self-awareness, increase self-esteem, and enhance performance efficiency.
It can also help you recognize areas for improvement in your feedback process, make adjustments, and improve your feedback records.
To ensure effective feedback that is meaningful to the receiver, focus on these aspects. These will help you deliver feedback that is actionable and effective.
Hopefully, you now have the information to make your feedback meaningful.
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