Our culture of feedback leaves much room for improvement. In many workplaces receiving feedback is a privilege granted only to a few, and it is often thought feedback only comes from the boss. Anyone can give feedback in everyday situations, be it to one's superior, colleagues or subordinates. Receiving well-formed feedback improves the atmosphere of the workplace, making it more open and reducing tensions.


Corrective feedback is focused on doing


Feedback can be divided into positive and corrective forms of feedback, which have their own distinct differences. Both of them are worth using regularly.

Giving positive feedback can be more personal than corrective feedback. For instance, one can give positive feedback to a person regarding their joyfulness, accuracy or turnout. In corrective feedback, however, one should avoid personal remarks and focus on the doing that one wishes to affect. When feedback is given sincerely and with respect, receiving it is easier and may at best lead to desired changes. Feedback given with an aggressive style can easily be defied, lead to a dispute or even make its receiver feel worthless.


Rules for feedback


It is good to bear in mind a few fundamentals when giving corrective feedback. The situations are worth practicing beforehand.

- Choose a good moment while keeping the event recent enough to remember.

- Be open and show that you care.

- Give the corrective feedback in private (instead of email etc).

- Be mindful of your own mood, remain neutral even if the other part is on the defensive.

- Keep a goal of helping the other part to learn.

Positive feedback can be given in everyday situations, for instance about some skills or attributes. A thank you for a job well done is a good start. The words thank you do not wear out in use but rather cheer the mood of both the giver and receiver.


Reaction styles provide an additional dimension

When you observe one's communication style, that being how one reacts and interacts, you can succeed even more in giving feedback. A thinking, feeling and doing person all appreciate different things regarding feedback. A thinker appreciates a matter-of-fact approach, clear arguments and calm feedback. A feeling person values a caring approach, a description of the situation and being listened to. A doing person in turn finds good feedback to be fast and focused on the main points, and may receive it while doing something else at the same.


Case: An operator in the service industry


A certain unit of a company in the service industry was given bad ratings regarding management and feedback in a survey measuring staff satisfaction. Superiors found it especially difficult to give corrective feedback. The team wanted practical tips for everyday situations for both superiors and subordinates with the help of the Keys2Balance training. By handling feedback skills through communication keys, reaction styles and attitudes the superiors were given more certainty in giving feedback and bringing things up for discussion. The subordinates also became more confident and began expressing improvement ideas at a higher rate than before. The result was that the working environment became more open and management was also found to have improved by the staff.

”If you really want something, you will find a way. If not, you will find excuses.”

                                                                     - Jim Rohn

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