We have all been in situations where we’ve had to give feedback. In the best cases it can strengthen relationships, provide growth opportunities and increase the efficiency and performance of your team.

So why are so many of us afraid of it?

When I seek feedback for myself, this is what I appreciate most: getting pointers or suggested improvements that I didn’t see myself and that I can own and act on.

Positive intent is key

Receiving feedback – in particular from your manager – is something that can generate anxiety. There’s a perception that critical feedback might be seen as casting judgment on your performance at work; however, well-thought feedback will be rich of actionable suggestions that will actually help you to perform better.

In European culture, open criticism is the norm, while in North America the “kiss-slap-kiss” approach of wrapping negative – or more critical – comments between two positive ones is more common. Combining both is how I now approach feedback:

Women in a meeting situation discussing about giving feedback
Learning to accept feedback will help you become a better version of yourself.

Start with the value: Share what things you appreciated: “You structured xxx in an unprecedented way”. “You clearly showed the objectives”. “You took the time to tailor your solutions to our needs…”

Share what needs to be fixed: Use precise, fact-based examples or cases you have been working on where you see room for improvement. Remember: You’re wanting to resolve a problem together.

End with the expectations: Provide suggestions on how to avoid the issue again in the future: “I would encourage you to…” or “I would like to see you providing more…”

Before you take the plunge, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Remember that giving feedback is all about trying to improve a situation. It’s constructive.

If you’re serious about providing a solution, always have the other person in mind and how what you’re sharing can be useful to them.

Change won’t happen overnight!

Woman and men meeting to give each other feedback
Listening to what others have to say about you with give you the additional perspective you need to improve.

Consider these points before you start

1. Communicate your expectations clearly and early, ideally before giving any feedback. Execute your feedback against them.

2. Asking to give feedback can be the wrong start. Is the person in the right state of mind? How much work, pressure or other circumstances are you (or they) under and how might that affect how you present your thoughts?

3. Take a moment to identify the best time and place that works for them. Friday afternoons are generally not the best moments to give feedback. How about mornings when the mind is clear? Giving feedback in person is always recommended.

Of course, it does take courage to step up and have the belief that, thanks to your pointers, you can trigger improvements, but by doing so, you’re investing into someone else’s growth, which can be tremendously satisfying in itself.

How do you feel feedback is being done at your company or in your teams? I’d love to hear about your approach in the comments below.

7 COMMENTS

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by Gabriel Arnold 27.04.2019
Feedback is crucial for any professional. Leaders must take the time to talk to their team in order to improve work environment and create a healthy and grow driving vibe. And the lack of feedback can put all your work in jeopordy.
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by Marie Perruchet - adidas Gabriel Arnold 02.05.2019
Couldn't agree more! Thanks for your comment Gabriel.
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by Sabrina 28.04.2019
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m dealing with several cultures at work and the feedback culture varies, too. At my Australian workplace, feedback is rarely given, and if so, hardly constructive feedback. I’m a manager of German descent and always like to provide positive and negative feedback to improve the overall performance of my team. If I don’t give feedback, most of the time it bothers me that I didn’t bring up the things we need to improve. I do struggle sometimes to turn negative performances into constructive feedback without hurting the employee. I always think twice whether my feedback sounds to harsh for the feedback culture in Australia. It’s a learning process for both sides - we’re on good track.
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by Marie Perruchet Sabrina 02.05.2019
Thank you Sabrina for sharing your comment. I like that you are embracing it (fixing things you want to improve). Indeed, there is no framework as such when it comes to tailoring feedback based on your interlocutor's culture. I think having an experience living overseas to understand some of the cultural differences gap between you and your interlocutor, and truly wanting to collaborate together, can make it more successful for both parties.
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by Maaike 07.05.2019
Great article Marie. Thanks for sharing, Maaike
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by Marie Perruchet Maaike 28.05.2019
Thanks Maaike
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by Nuno Duarte 10.05.2019
Agreed objectives, trust and prompt feed-back remain critical areas in today’s leadership.
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