5 Key Elements of Effective Feedback

by Ben on May 20, 2009

In a previous article I explained my theory of Proactive and Reactive Feedback and how their use can make or break the productivity of your team.

I made the case that feedback is better given when an employee or team’s performance is on the upward swing rather than waiting until their performance starts to dip.

In this article I offer the 5 key elements of effective feedback:

Descriptive:

Tell the person exactly what they did right, and where they have opportunities for improvement.

Immediate:

The quicker you can offer feedback to reinforce or discourage a particular behavior, the more effective it will be.

Timing:

Although feedback should be “immediate”, you need to make sure the environment is appropriate for offering the feedback. Are there other people around, is it too noisy, etc.

Use Data:

Whenever possible, use data to reinforce your feedback. If the person isn’t meeting the company’s expectations in a particular area, a visual representation of where that individual stands can be highly effective.

Honesty:

Last but certainly not least is honesty. You are doing yourself, the organization, and the individual a disservice if you are not completely honest in your evaluation. It’s difficult to “criticize” someone else, but if you don’t take effective action from the beginning you will most certainly face even more uncomfortable circumstances down the road.

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