Sunday, September 18, 2011

How to Give Good Feedback

How do you give good feedback?  By good feedback I don’t mean telling people positive things.  I mean how to tell people negative things, the hard truths, in a good way.  It’s a kinder, gentler tiger mom approach.

Your kid does poorly on an exam, your friend blows a job interview, your spouse doesn’t reach their weight loss goal for the week, etc.  How to respond?

It’s not your job to soften the blow.   Telling someone they did as well as they could gives the message that their best isn’t good enough.  It also frees them from feeling bad.  Feeling badly because you did poorly is motivating.  You get the message that you’re not doing as well as you need to do.  That makes people try harder.

Focus on the change that needs to be made.  If they understand why they failed, they can look at other actions to take in the future.  The idea that you can make changes and do better is motivating and increases confidence.

Focus on controllables.   The focus is on what they did, not what they are.  Focus on effort, not ability.  Focus on new strategies, planning and persistence, i.e., on grit.  It’s not that they’re not good enough, it that they didn’t do something they needed to do, and that thing is under their control.

Be honest.  People can tell when you’re not being honest and it undermines any feedback you give now or in the future.

Good feedback might include some of the following ideas.  Maybe you studied but you didn’t study the right way; next time you may want to try focusing on writing notes, memorizing more, or starting sooner.  Perhaps you need to use a different strategy in the next interview; next time you may want to be more enthusiastic, have a better explanation for your interest in the position or be better prepared with your job history.  It’s great that you’ve been careful with your carbs, but maybe you need to be getting to the gym an extra day or two.

Good advice for others, and good advice for ourselves.  See how well you can tell the hard truth the next time you need to give feedback.  And maybe you need a little more honesty with yourself.

For fun: Don’t ask me no questions. Lynyrd Skynyrd


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks

Judy'sAlterEgo said...

Thanks and please feel free to comment any time.