The World of Work Project

Giving Feedback Well: Ways To Get Better At Feedback

There are several things that individuals can do to ensure that they are giving feedback well, regardless of which models they chose to use. These things include: preparation, intention, presence, empathy and self-care.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Giving Feedback Well

There are many different models to help deliver feedback messages. Regardless of what model you use however, here are some generic steps tol help ensure that you provide feedback well.

Think PIPES, think feedback! Or not.

We believe that the following list, which accidentally spells “PIPES”, is a helpful collection of factors that you should consider before providing someone with feedback.

Preparation

Whenever you’re providing feedback, it’s important to take time to prepare. You should reflect on your key messages and be clear on the outcomes that you wish to create as a result of your feedback. Then you should structure your feedback into whichever model you select and practice delivering the messages. Role-playing can be a powerful way to practice.

Many people in the world of work feel they don’t have the time to prepare appropriately for feedback. And many people are right about this. However, if you want to be good at providing feedback, then you need to make time to prepare.

Intention

It’s important to understand and be honest with yourself about your intentions before you provide feedback. The best feedback will come from an intention to help the other person to grow and develop. If you’re delivering feedback with an intention of personal gain, then it’s less likely to be as effective.

Being present is part of Giving Feedback Well
Focus and be present in the meeting, do not drift off and never check your phone.

Presence

When you’re delivering feedback it’s very important to remain present and in the moment. These conversations are important and it’s essential to treat them with respect and really focus on them. You need to free your mind of other thoughts and distractions and ensure you’re 100% focused on the conversation at hand.

Empathy

As we’ve tried to show earlier in this post, emotions play a large role in feedback conversations. To give feedback effectively it’s important to consider the emotional responses the person you’re providing feedback to will experience over the course of the conversation.

By putting yourself in their shoes and reflecting on their emotional experience you’ll be able to structure and delver your feedback more effectively, and with clearer and more empathetic language.

Looking after yourself (putting your own mask on first) is part of Giving Feedback Well
Always put your own mask on first.

Self Care

As with most things, you’ll only be able to do a really good job of providing feedback if you’re in a good physical and mental state yourself.

It’s important to give yourself time to recover and recharge before heading into potentially difficult conversations. As they say on airplanes, you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.

Learning More

Those of you who have spoken to us will know we have pretty strong views on feedback. We understand that receiving feedback well can be difficult and that feedback can feel like a social threat. We also know that receiving feedback can be triggering, causing our amygdala responses (fight or flight) to kick in. Given this, we think it’s good to focus on learning to receive feedback well before focusing on giving feedback well.

There are several posts in this site on various feedback tools and models which might be helpful. These include 360 degree feedback, the stop, start continue framework, The COIN model and the CEDAR model. There are also some tools we think you should avoid, including the feedback sandwich.

Our second podcast on feedback might also be helpful. In it we have a conversation with a feedback specialist, Joe Hirsch. You can listen to it below.

The World of Work Project View

We’ve included posts on several different feedback models within this website and think they can be helpful, but we also think that models are secondary when it comes to feedback. It’s possible to use a model and be dreadful at providing feedback, and it’s possible to not use a model and be great at providing feedback.

Given this, we think it’s important to learn more than just models. The list of points within this post on giving feedback well are a useful starting point to consider when preparing to deliver feedback.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on our own personal experience and there are no specific references for it.

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