3 ways L&D professionals can make mistakes giving feedback

by John Hilton11 Mar 2016
L&D professionals are in a prime position to help people around them be better versions of themselves, according to Georgia Murch, communication expert and author of the new book, Fixing Feedback.

“Feedback is a gift, and the sooner we see it that way, the easier it is to give and receive,” Murch told L&D Professional. 

However, Murch added that there are three common mistakes people can make when giving feedback.   

First and foremost, this occurs when people don’t use enough facts or examples, which can result in the feedback going south very quickly.

“It is all based on opinions which can quickly turn into verbal assassination or so sugar-coated that we can’t find the feedback, said Murch.

“When we don’t have something for people to understand why the feedback is relevant, it can be damaging.”

Secondly, people can deliver it poorly.  In other words, the tone, intent or method (such as email) is not considered. 

“These are important aspects.  After all, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it that matters also,” said Murch.

“Finally, we don’t allow for the feedback to be both ways.  If we only present what we know to be true then we are missing the ‘real truth’, which is a combination of your truth and theirs.”

Murch added that there are progressive organisations and many of the ‘best places to work’ which are increasingly adopting feedback cultures.

“This is where feedback is given and received on a daily basis and not saved up for stale and ineffective performance reviews,” she said.

This is consistent with research by Deloitte which showed that an annual appraisal for 65,000 staff took two million hours.  Further, a recent PwC study conducted in Australia showed that 81% of companies had performance management systems which were only “somewhat effective” at achieving their goals.

“There are over 30 companies now ditching performance reviews in place of feedback and ‘check in’ cultures,” said Murch.

“Adobe led the way, soon followed by Juniper, Accenture, Microsoft, Deloitte, Zappos, Expedia, Dell and GE.” 

Murch offers the following tips to give feedback effectively:
  • Don’t shy away from it.  Feedback is a gift and the sooner we see it that way, the easier it is to give and receive. 
  • Prepare and gather your facts.  Learn to manage the more difficult individuals and conversations through tools to decrease the reactions and get them into a productive conversation. 
  • Finally, be the walking example, not the talking one.  Show them how to do it well.  Actions always speak louder than words.
Related:
 
Why performance reviews are getting bad marks
 

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