Delivering effective feedback to colleagues

Delivering effective feedback to colleagues

On occasions you may be asked to deliver feedback on performance to someone who reports to you, or to another staff member. In this article we look at how you might go about this.

Deliver the feedback as soon as possible. Ideally, you need to provide the feedback when both you and the recipient can easily remember the task on which the feedback is being delivered.

Ensure feedback is delivered in private. It’s far from ideal to deliver the feedback in the open office, or anywhere else where other colleagues might hear what you are saying.

Always try and keep the feedback constructive. The recipient needs to know what they did right and what they did wrong, and what steps they can take to improve next time. Sometimes, an individual’s performance may have been unsatisfactory, and it may be your responsibility to deliver this message. In these circumstances, your feedback needs to make it clear to the employee that their efforts did not meet required standards. However, in these circumstances, the need to provide constructive feedback is all the more important – if the individual’s performance needs to improve, they definitely need to know how they can achieve this.

Think about what assistance you can provide to allow the individual to improve their performance. Consider if there is scope for further training or development of any kind.

Give as much positive feedback as you can. People may be more receptive to any negative feedback you need to deliver if they believe they have also received some good news. Some people try and deliver a ‘good news sandwich’, where a piece of bad news is communicated in between two pieces of positive feedback.

Be specific. Don’t just say ‘you need to improve your skills in communication’ or something similar. Explain exactly what you believe the person needs to work on.

Use good practice examples. Give the recipient some examples of how the task in question has been performed well in the past.

Let the person know how they are progressing towards a longer-term goal. Sometimes the recipient of the feedback may be working towards a longer-term objective, and will therefore probably want to know whether they are on track to meet that goal.

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