3 Steps to Constructive Feedback


One of the most difficult parts about managing people is giving people constructive or negative feedback. In this video, I want to share with you how you can take away the discomfort for you and the lack of clarity for them. So they’ll walk away with a clear idea about what you want of them and how they can take action.

I was running a ‘Feedback Essentials’ training program for a company recently and we had a discussion around the three challenges that managers have when they’re giving feedback. These are the three challenges or mistakes:

1. Too harsh — Managers might say something like “You’re just not getting it right. Are you an idiot?” (That might seem extreme, but I’ve seen people do it).

2. Too soft — They’ll say, “Would it be okay if you make a little bit more of an improvement in that area?” That’s okay, but the hearer doesn’t really walk away and get the power of what was said.

3. Too vague — The manager says, “Can you make some improvements?”

Those three big mistakes have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the feedback being given. So here is a three step formula for giving someone constructive feedback:

1. Share specific task — Get specific on the task that they messed up on. What you can say is, “Hey John, when you handed in that report to me the other day, it had a few spelling errors and it really didn’t hit the target market that we’re looking for.”

2. How it made you feel — Say something like, “That actually made me frustrated.” Or whatever you felt at the time. Saying how it made you feel will lend significant power to your feedback.

3. Reinforce the person — You’ll say something like, “Look, John, I know you’re better than that. You’ve got great skills, so why don’t you go out and do it the way that I know you can.”

So the three steps are — 1. specific task, 2. how it made you feel and 3. reinforce the person.

They’ll walk away clearer on what they got wrong, they’ll know that it was important and they will take action. I’ve done this with a few people who have worked for me, and it’s seen massive improvement in their behaviour. Go ahead and give it a go.

QUESTION: What is the most challenging part for you in giving constructive or negative feedback? I’d love to hear it in the comments BELOW. Colin Boyd colinboyd.com.au