Feedback is a fundamental element in an efficient, productive and above all pleasant workspace. Often we avoid sharing our opinion to avoid potential conflicts, yet feedback is a resource that, if known to manage, can improve the self-awareness of our interlocutor, leading him to a greater capacity of judgment and an implicit improvement of his state of well-being and its performance.
Why are they so important? Simply because every human being has an absolutely subjective perception of himself and his work. The feedbacks allow, among other things, to broaden this perception and enrich the image that the other has of himself, allowing him to get out of the inevitable mental patterns.
We also consider that in reality feedback is inevitable, in the sense that even if we do not have to express our explicit opinion, the other person will spontaneously be led to imagine the judgment we have towards him. Giving adequate feedback helps prevent this interpretation from being erroneous or negative.
We also consider that feedback also benefits the person who expresses it, allowing them to express their opinion and not “hold in” an evaluation. Furthermore, feedback can stimulate dialogue and discussion, and it is not certain that a specific judgment will remain the same after it has been expressed.
Finally, the most important aspect: it is essential to know how to give feedback, in order to make it a constructive tool and from which both parties can benefit.
Now let’s see what are the characteristics that feedback must have to be useful and constructive.
It may seem obvious but it is good to remember that feedback can be both positive and negative. A good place to start is to dose them both, avoiding giving only negative feedback or only positive feedback.
When we give feedback, it is essential that the area to which it refers is explained, and in particular how the evaluation is not linked to the person, but to a concrete action, so that it is not possible to take it personally
3. Specific and measurable
The more specific you are, the more the person will be able to understand what the mistake was (in the case of negative feedback) and what can be improved.
The more prompt feedback is given, the better, without waiting and letting too much time pass. Just be careful not to give feedback on the wave of emotion, as we will see in the next point. However, let us remember that it is essential to always choose the right time.
A feedback charged with emotion paradoxically will lose value because the person will associate the judgment with the emotion itself. Quiet feedback, based on open and assertive communication, and not overly emotional will hit the target more easily.
6. Public or private
This aspect needs to be judged wisely. Is it better to give feedback in public or in private? It depends. It is usually a good idea to give positive feedback in public and negative feedback in private, for obvious reasons.
It is essential to commensurate our words not only according to the person in front of us, but also to his mood at that moment or to the specific situation in which he finds himself. We may therefore find ourselves not giving the same feedback to different people, even if they may have acted the same way.
Feedback is not a one-way communication, listening is just as important as speaking, even if only to evaluate the reactions of our interlocutor.
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