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Understand your Feedback Style

Published 29th September 2016 by Thomas Bale
Feedback style

Giving feedback is a key part of managing the performance of your team. Read top tips for giving employee feedback and evaluate your own style to make sure you’re firm but fair.

It's all part of being sure you're are balanced, clear and motivational. These questions will help you to understand your natural feedback style. Think of a recent feedback session you have led, then score your feedback approach against the following questions. (or you can just download a template to make it easier).

10 Questions to Ask to Evaluate Your Feedback Style

  1. How much time did you spend talking about what they did well vs areas they need to improve? Too much focus on the negative may damage morale.

  2. How much employee input did you invite? The employee is unlikely to take ownership of feedback if they feel uninvolved.

  3. What was your overall aim? Encouraging the employee to become aware of their behaviour may not be enough to effect a later behaviour change.

  4.  How directive was the feedback you gave? Too directive and the employee may feel controlled; not directive enough, and the employee may feel confused.

  5.  How objective was the feedback you gave? Be honest – over-reliance on your opinion may leave you open to accusations of personal antipathy; too much reliance on data may make you seem unfeeling

  6. How comfortable were you with giving (especially negative) feedback? The mid-point here will be a measured, firm but fair approach; too direct and you could have appeared harsh; too uncomfortable and you may have seemed to lack authority.

  7. How clear do you think your feedback was? The employee should have come away knowing how their performance was evaluated, what the feedback was for, and what they have to achieve.

  8. How focused was the feedback? Eg, was it focused on a few points that you made with back-up and did you wander off the point or have a nice chat?

  9. How balanced was your feedback between ‘task’, ‘motivational’ and ‘self’ feedback? Remember, ‘self’ feedback, ie commenting on personal characteristics, tends to threaten employees most.

  10. How much follow up will there be after the feedback session? Best practice is to link feedback to subsequent training/development / performance milestones with periodic reviews agreed with employee

Why not download a template of this evaluation and share it with your team?