Is your half-yearly performance review drawing closer? If the word ‘feedback’ strikes fear and anxiety in you, then you are not alone. Everyone hates being told they are wrong. And if you are a manager, the unpleasant task of giving negative feedback is even tougher. The process is always awkward and can easily create an atmosphere of distrust. So let us break that tension for you. Follow this A-Z guide to giving and taking feedback like a pro for a proactive experience every time.
While giving feedback
1. Be positive
Feedback doesn’t always have to be all negative. Start with positive points and show appreciation for the things your colleague has done well. It will not only improve the professional relationship but also prepare him/her to take constructive feedback in a positive frame of mind.
2. Be factual
Don’t get personal with feedback. Stick to the facts to remain as objective as possible. For example, you should never call your colleague ‘incompetent’. If you see their standard of work is lacking then you should tell them that their work affects a lot of people every mistake has huge a huge impact.
3. Offer solutions
While it is easy to point out mistakes, a good manager always focuses on solutions. This way, the recipient will immediately put the feedback into action.
4. Be accessible
Remember, there is always scope for improvement even for your best performers. Always be accessible to your colleagues if they are struggling with some work. The time you spend grooming them and helping them correct their mistakes will reap you huge benefits in the future.
5. Give feedback in person and give it regularly
Never wait for the end of the year performance review to tell the recipient how badly he/she fared over the year. Be instant with both praises and criticism. Also, never give feedback on mail. It’s not just the words, but how you say them that matters. That’s why you have a higher chance of being misunderstood in the mail and upsetting the recipient.
While taking feedback
1. Don’t get defensive
We have a natural tendency to fight criticism by becoming defensive and trying to justify our actions. This can create a mental block. When someone is pointing out your mistake, your brain only thinks about how to counter the argument and the feedback doesn’t register in your mind. Instead, take a deep breath and pay attention to what the other person is saying. Avoid talking till they are finished. Take a pen and paper with you and write down the feedback.
2. Don’t deflect the problem
It’s hard to admit a mistake. You may try to deflect the blame to another colleague or to a situation that was not under your control. This way, you will not learn from the mistake and the problem will not be resolved. Take the negative feedback as a challenge instead to improve your work.
3. Don’t take it personally
More often than not, the intention of your manager is to get the best out of your performance. So when he/she gives you feedback, keep this bigger picture in your mind and don’t take offence if they are angry or use harsh words.
4. Analyse the feedback
Once you are back at your desk, analyse your work and see where you went wrong. Most of the time, we overlook silly mistakes that lead to bigger issues. So the more you reflect on the feedback, the lesser chances you’ll have to make mistakes.
5. Always ask for Help
Never be afraid to seek help from your manager over something that you are not confident about. As the saying goes, better to be safe than sorry.