Giving Good Feedback
You have been invited to give feedback by a colleague who believes your views to be valuable to their personal development. Treat this as an opportunity to provide assistance by taking this request seriously and making an effort to give honest responses. Think about the way you would like others to provide feedback were you to make the same request.
• Give explicit feedback – Think about observed actions and specific behaviours when you are providing your feedback.
• Think informally – if you are giving feedback as a direct report or a colleague of the candidate, your responses will not be attributed to you directly. You do not need to be particularly formal when giving your feedback. Rather than focusing on your relative positions in the organisation, concentrate on the results of the candidate’s actions and how they impact on those around them. Be honest about your observations.
• Be Personal – comment on aspects of behaviour that you would like to see changed. Often the person requesting feedback is not aware of how their behaviour affects others. By thinking about this aspect you may be able to highlight and reinforce certain characteristics that you have found extremely helpful and positive. Equally, your feedback may clarify the reasons why it would be a good idea for the candidate to make some changes.
• Aim to be constructive – the candidate’s goal is to increase their awareness of personal strengths and areas that could benefit from development. It isn’t helpful to comment on things the candidate cannot change, or to write your feedback in a thoughtless way. If carelessly worded, at best your comments may be dismissed – at worst they may be damaging. Put yourself in the place of the person receiving the review when making the decision about what feedback to give.
• Treat the request responsibly – Don’t let personal quibbles, or a bad day have an impact on the feedback you give. Give yourself time to do the review properly. If you want to have a look at the questions first and think about them before responding, log in to the questionnaire, but do not submit your review at that time. Simply log out without submitting a response. Once the review has been submitted it cannot be re-done. When you are ready to complete the review, make sure you will have 15 minutes of un-interrupted time, and give the task your full attention.
Finally, remember that by giving good feedback you are helping a colleague to improve their performance which ultimately benefits all members of the team.