The Importance of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Develop Higher-Performing Teams with a Culture of Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback is a key skill for managers and leaders, but shouldn’t it also be a skill that you embed in all your employees?

Why is feedback so important?

When given and received effectively, feedback improves performance of employees and their managers.

Among research that supports feedback as a critical element within the workplace, Officevibe reports:

  • Employees who are ignored by their manager are twice as likely to be disengaged at work

  • When managers focus on an employee’s strengths, that employee is 30 times more likely to be engaged 

  • 65% of employees said they want more feedback

In a Gallup poll, it was found that managers who received strengths feedback:

  • Led teams with 12.5% greater productivity

  • Produced 8.9% higher profitability post-feedback

When embedded as a cultural habit in your organization, you will find that effective feedback has a positive impact on motivation, employee engagement, and performance. It can give your people a sense of purpose, encourage better collaboration, and encourage personal growth.

Feedback and motivation

Regular, constructive feedback can deliver increased motivation, encouraging people to build on their strengths and improve their weaknesses.

Feedback and engagement

When you provide consistent feedback, others feel valued. They understand the importance of their work and how it contributes to the organization’s performance. By personalizing the feedback, you encourage greater individual effort.

Feedback and performance

Feedback can and should be used to develop understanding. This is especially true when feedback is required to deal with underperformance, and direction is needed. Constructive feedback helps to get people back on track.

Feedback and purpose

When giving feedback, managers can remind people why what they do is important. It is the perfect occasion to tie in task to purpose.

Feedback and collaboration

In a workplace where feedback is part of the team culture, the honesty of peer-to-peer feedback can help to build greater collaboration and dissolve confrontation before it has a chance to take hold.

Feedback and personal growth

Feedback highlights strengths and weaknesses, and should be used to help guide employees toward career decisions, thus fostering personal growth.

Feedback is a three-part construction

Feedback is constructed in three parts. The first is objective, the second subjective, and the third is reflection.

Objective feedback is the factual information that is the foundation of the feedback. These should be specific. For example, “You’re becoming more collaborative in team meetings. I noticed how you asked some great questions yesterday, even though you didn’t agree with the ideas put forward.”

Subjective feedback is about how the performance affects you personally. Because it is subjective, you cannot claim to speak for anyone else other than you. An example might be, “If you continue to improve in this area, I feel more confident in your ability to step into a more senior role.”

Reflection is the point at which you ask the recipient how they plan to improve or continue with what they are doing. This should be collaborative – a conversation that helps to create a plan to progress. For example, “Do you think there are other ways that you can improve on your collaborative approach?”

5 Rules for giving feedback

Here are five rules to help you give feedback more effectively:

  1. Define a goal for feedback – know your objective before you provide feedback.

  2. Don’t make it personal – focus on behavior and not the person.

  3. Be specific – use detailed examples to demonstrate performance.

  4. Be timely – give feedback when the performance is fresh in the memory.

  5. Ensure it is a conversation – a conversation invites participation and leads to greater awareness.

5 Rules for receiving feedback

Just as you should observe good practice when giving feedback, there are also rules for receiving feedback:

  • Ask for feedback – this ensures that feedback is given and at a time when it is most needed

  • Be receptive – you may hear something you don’t wish to hear

  • Take your time – whether good or bad, take time to process what has been said

  • Develop a plan to move forward – always ask how you can improve, and discuss ways to improve

  • Be grateful – thank the person for the feedback they give, and confirm your understanding

Is your organization skilled in feedback?

Giving and receiving feedback are skills that can be learned. How often do you hear your managers providing feedback? Or your employees discussing their performance with their colleagues? Are your employees comfortable with providing feedback to their managers?

In an organization on which the culture encourages honest feedback, productivity and performance will be enhanced. When was the last time your organization took advantage of training in giving and receiving feedback?

Take the first step to identifying your development needs – learn more about ‘Scaling Talent’ our leadership and development program.


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