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Thursday Tip: Effective Feedback

This week’s Thursday Tip is Effective Feedback. Providing effective (both reinforcing and constructive feedback) is the key to performance improvement, incentivising employees, maintaining expected standards of work, and sustaining positive relationships.

Feedback comes in two main forms:

1. Reinforcing feedback (performances/behaviours you want to see repeated).
2. Constructive feedback (performances/behaviours you want to see improved or eliminated).

Both forms are equally important to deliver effectively. Ineffective examples of Reinforcing Feedback include;

1. When it never occurs or rarely occurs:

  • “There’s not point in feedback, they already know.”
  • “I don’t want to give him/her an ego about it!”
  • “He/she only engages when something is going wrong. Silence is Golden.”
  • “He/she hasn’t been on to me – I must be doing something right.”

2. When it occurs too often:

  • “My manager is too easy to please. Anything goes.”
  • “They love me, sure I can do no wrong.”

3. When it occurs generally or disingenuously:

  • “Good job, in general.”
  • “Well done all round everyone.”
  • “Great work people.”

4. When it’s personal or judgmental:

  • “I expected more of you. You’ve let me down.”
  • “I’m really surprised at you. You remind me of…”
  • “I really don’t need this right now.”

5. When it becomes linked to historical situations:

  • “This is the final straw.”
  • “I wasn’t going to bring this up but.”
  • “It’s exactly like before when you…”

6. When it is generalised:

  • “You never met your deadlines.”
  • “This ALWAYS happens.”
  • “EVERYBODY sees it. NOBODY else does this.”

Thursday Tip: Effective Feedback Tips

  1. Ask Permission to give feedback: “Do you mind if I offer some feedback?”
  2. Describe the when and where of relevant/recent situations.
  3. Be specific and timely.
  4. Describe the impact of the situation/behaviour (on you, or other team members).
  5. Set out clear and achievable expectations.
  6. Invite input from the employee: “What are your thoughts on…?”
  7.  When you ask a question, pause for an answer.
  8. BEWARE of using the FEEDBACK SANDWICH. The ‘negative’ filling between two outer layers of positive feedback can often get lost in between, and as a result goes unnoticed or unheard.
  9. ASK, DON’T SAY: When approaching specific scenarios or aspects of performance with a view to improving them, invite the employee to initiate a review by asking open questions during feedback sessions or appraisals:
    • “Help me to understand.”
    • “Have you considered…?”
    • “What are your thoughts around..?”
    • “Let’s take this opportunity to look at…”

Consider using an SBI (Situation, Behaviour, Impact) Form wherever possible until the structure of giving
feedback becomes familiar to everyone. Today’s Thursday Tips have been provided by Childcare Experts Canavan Byrne. Check back in two week’s time for more great tips!