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Giving feedback is often hard, but it’s fundamental to the development of both yourself and others. I feel so strongly about this that I believe it is one of the most important things a leader can do. The good news is that it is a skill you can learn – something you can practice and get better at – it may always feel a little uncomfortable but the more we do it, the more we will expect it and the easier it will become.

It’s important to note the difference between feedback and criticism – you might find that a lot of people become defensive when given feedback – some people love receiving it and are very happy to ask for it, but some won’t because they are scared of being criticized, especially if it is from a line manager or someone more senior to them.

Although both criticism and feedback involve evaluating someone, criticism involves judgement and fault-finding, whereas feedback evaluates and then suggests corrective information – feedback involves understanding the intention of the action, being empathetic and future-orientated – not blaming but thinking ‘how can I help this person develop and improve’.

To get you started, I’ve written some tips on how and when you could start introducing feedback into your conversations:

  • 1:1 meetings – encourage the space to have these conversations, think about your environment, even the time of day! Also, be conscious of what is going on in the individual’s life – when is this information going to land best? Also, how often do you have these 1:1 meetings (this may depend on the size of your team) and is there a way that you can introduce giving (and receiving) of feedback as standard practice within them?
  • Feedback rounds – this can work really well when you are an on a specific project as the lead or as part of the wider team – sit down for an hour (end of week to wrap up/start of week to set the tone) to explore and reflect – what went well? What didn’t? How can we improve? Give everyone the chance to speak, and if you are the leader, speak last. Quite often, if we speak first then we can give out subconscious expectations of what we want to hear which defeats the point of getting the feedback in the first place! Feedback rounds are simple but so effective and inclusive.
  • 180 feedback sessions for the team – think speed dating but for feedback! The team works in pairs – 2 mins to give each other positive feedback and one minute for constructive feedback. At the end, the group share what they have learnt about themselves – remember, people need positive feedback too to know what to keep doing!
  • Office hours – open up a set time in your diary where people can drop in and have a chat (in person or virtual) about different issues – send out an open meeting request so that everyone has that time if they need it – be very clear that this is an opportunity to meet, NOT a formal meeting which they must attend. This method gives them the opportunity and that space in our very busy lives!

I hope this has been helpful and started a few cogs turning on how you can introduce feedback into your day to day working life – if you want a safe space to chat with others, have access to more training, biweekly group coaching, guest expert interviews and more…then pop on over and have a look at The Wild Clarity Club!

The Wild Clarity Club

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