5 tips to give and receive positive and negative feedback at work

Posted by Marcos Tadeu
at Thursday October 5th, 2017.

Are you used to give and receive positive or negative feedbacks with relative frequency in your work routine?

As a manager, do you believe it’s best to remain impartial and “guard yourself” against conflicts?

Be careful! From the moment you refuse to give any kind of feedback to your subordinates, being it a compliment or a rebuke, you can end up compromising your entire team’s productivity, and, thus to impair the achievement of organizational goals.

In this post, you’ll find out the importance of incorporating this return into the work environment, as well as learning some tips to give and to receive positive and negative feedbacks without embarrassing anyone. Check it out next.

Feedback within the corporate universe    

Feedback. English word that means “to feed” or to give an answer. Within the corporate universe, the usefulness of this tool goes far beyond recognizing and warning someone for a particular task or conduct. Actually, the feedback, when well executed in an intelligible way, encompasses all aspects that involve the reality of this or that employee, with the function of getting them to develop into better people and collaborators.

In other words, your ability to hit goals, your contribution to the team, your results. The purpose of the feedback is to provide the professional development based on the company’s goals.   

positive feedback    

The role of the leader in feedback

One of the biggest feedback barriers is regardeed to the maturity and trainning of the leadership. Most leaders are patronizing, coming to neglect data and facts to focus on the subjective aspects of a professional relationship. Generally, the Leader even knows the points to be developed, but at the feedback time, the “intimacy” with the subordinate prevents him from touching the most critical points.

It can be said that a determined leader is good feedback giver when he can focus on the points to be developed (ie, negative) and comes to generate a wave of acknowledgments from those who receive it. There are in the market some leaders that have such an ability to give feedback, that even when they fire an employee they receive a sincere “thank you”. Think about it.

Consequences of poorly given feedback

If you’ve ever had the unpleasantness of passing thru an embarrassing situation regarding feedbacks, you probably already know that this practice, if not executed according to data and arguments and solely for company goals, can trigger totally unnecessary conflicts that often are irreversible.

It all begins when the boss announces, among the workstations, the request to an employee to appear immediately at his room, causing fear among the others. It continues with the boss, in a state of total imbalance, shouting improprieties to the subordinate. And the worst is that it usually ends with the employee extremely resentful, complaining to colleagues that his manager is “chasing”, among other terms.

Poorly executed feedback like this can, in a short time:

  • Increase turnover rate;
  • Affect the motivation of the team;
  • Deepen the climate of internal dissatisfaction;
  • Delay goals achievement;
  • Rework of tasks and action plans;
  • Difficulty the communication;
  • Loss of focus.

Anyway, how to give and receive positive and negative feedbacks?

Well, as you noticed in the topic above, to not give or not to know how to give a feedback may, even indirectly, undermine the goals of your company. And the pressure for the responsible to pass on the feedback is as great as the pressure of who receive it. To help you get most advantage of this practice, here are some tips. Look:

Negative feedbacks: Always start with the positive element

This is a basic rule. Exalting the positive points right from the start is a way of predisposing the listener to the negative points, as well as minimizing tension. For some reason, there are no positive elements to emphasize? The simple fact that your interlocutor is interested in what you have to say it already counts. What the negative feedbacker can never do is to deceive the listener with false compliments just to get his attention.      

Get away from any generalization

Don’t start sentences with “I’ve heard”, “it seems” or “I think”. To make the feedback remains in the objective field, it’s essential to substantiate the conversation with practical examples of conduct errors that the questioned employee – and not his colleague – has committed. If the employee in question arrives late every day, keep the point card that indicates the exact days when he has made this slip.

Choose an appropriate location

Generally, the negative feedback has a context where a leader and the subordinate can chat without interference and no one around. The positive feedback can also be done this way, but the healthy leadership policy recommends to congratulate for the good work in front of the team as a way of stimulate it. Obviously, this praise can not be extravagant, but to recognize in public is positive.

Speak, but also listen

It is important that the feedback receiver knows how to listen. Instead of spending energy trying to justify every point of the feedback, it is imperative to listen to and then discuss with who is giving feedback the evidences from each point – if the leader does not present them – and, especially, to discuss development actions, because the Feedback has the purpose of development, and to develop it is not enough just to listen, but to work hard for changes and improvements.

It doesn’t matter how high your hierarchical level is. Feedbacks require a humble position to be understood in the right way by both, the giver and the receiver. To start this private conversation by accusing his interlocutor of numerous errors will only make him resent himself, to the point of not wanting to reveal anything – afraid of being recorded and that his speech may be used against him.

Mark the duration of the meeting

Feedback meetings tend to drag on for hours, not to mention that, often, they turn into other subjects. To avoid such friction, stipulate a duration for the conversation and, if possible, combine the points you will speak, always setting the topics according to the interests and goals of the company. Thus, you will have more autonomy to complete the meeting and to pass item by item of what has been agreed upon. After all, feedbacks have to be the first and foremost constructive, so that they have an effect on skills development and at the overcoming of deficiencies, don’t you agree?

But even if after these 5 tips you do not feel safe enough to give a feedback, bet on platforms that can systematize this process, as well as follow the evolution and development of people in a concrete way, totally based on facts and data. Another good option is the specialized consultancy, specialized to support the structuring of the process, together with training and leadership capacitation. No more subjectivity and embarrassment at the time of feedback!

So, what did you think of this article? Are you feeling a little more confident about giving positive and negative feedbacks at work? Do you still have doubts? Leave your comment below and help us deepen this discussion.

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