At Rambutan we believe feedback is essential if we’re to constantly get better at what we do. We have a culture where feedback is asked for and given on a daily basis and this gives us a lot of stuff to learn from.
Many business leaders and managers recognise the importance of feedback and yet many organisations fail to realise the true benefits of it. There can be loads of reasons for this and the aim of this piece is to give you some easy-to-use ideas on how to refresh your team by using feedback.
We understand that for some people, giving and receiving feedback can be quite difficult. There is of course plenty of help available to overcome this. On YouTube alone there are over 53 million video clips on how to give feedback and each of the video creators has their own opinions on the subject. At Rambutan we have an opinion on feedback too and as you’d probably expect from us our thoughts are really straightforward and easy to apply. So we thought we’d share them with you.
When we’re talking about feedback with people we often hear comments such as:
“I can give positive feedback but find it really hard to give negative feedback” or “I really don’t like to hear negative feedback”.
When we explore this further we find that people are reticent about giving feedback because they feel they could be viewed as being negative and critical. Or they feel the other person may take the feedback as negative or hurtful.
Let’s think about this for a minute then. The first thing to examine is the reason why you’re giving feedback. If you choose a mindset of; you’re giving feedback to help someone get better at what they do, or that others are giving you feedback to help you improve, then this means all feedback is helpful. This mindset resolves the positive/negative/criticism issue because it means the feedback is about helping people improve and surely this would be a positive experience.
Having the right mindset is the start, now you need a great feedback model. Well at Rambutan we like to keep things up-to-date and straightforward and the model we use is ‘likes’ and ‘prefers’. It goes something like this:
“I liked it when…” or “I’d have preferred if…”
Have a go at using this technique at your next team meeting. At the close ask everyone to note down at least one like and one prefer from the meeting and then share them as a whole group. This will help your team get to grips with the technique, they’ll be giving you feedback and you’ll get loads of top tips on how to run your next meeting.
So far, you’ve considered how mindset can help and we’ve introduced you to a simple feedback model. Now you’re ready to give and receive effective feedback – well almost. You need to understand the principles first otherwise it could still go horribly wrong. For example,
‘I liked that, it was great’ and ‘I’d have preferred it to have been better’
But why is this wrong? This feedback could be from the heart to truly help someone, it follows our straightforward feedback model, however the feedback isn’t much use to the recipient. It’s important to think about why it was great or how it could have been better, then feed that back so they can improve next time.
Principles for giving feedback:
- think about where you give feedback – the location is really important as distractions can be off-putting to both giver and receiver
- think about privacy – does it need to be one-to-one or can it be shared in front of a group?
- be specific with your feedback – be sure to give an example to illustrate what you mean
- keep it factual, non-personal (the white hat, as defined by Edward de Bono, ‘calls for information known or needed: “The facts, just the facts.”’) and non-emotional
- explain the effect their action had
- explain what you would like to see differently – feedback is a great learning tool
- be timely – give the feedback as soon as possible to start the development process
- giving feedback face-to-face is best; if not, by phone is better than not at all
Principles for accepting feedback
- accept all feedback graciously – the other person is trying to help you. You don’t need to defend your actions
- thank others for their feedback – acknowledge their observation and the time taken to share it with you
- listen to all feedback because there’s always something you could improve
- always ask for feedback. You’ll get some golden nuggets on how to improve and your approach will help the other person if they’re feeling reticent on giving you feedback
Over to you
Have a go and see how feedback helps your team and if you want to get better at feedback then ask for feedback on your feedback. Enjoy refreshing your team and if you want any support or advice give one of the bunch a shout.