Giving and Receiving Feedback





In her article “Everything You Need to Know About Giving Negative Feedback, Sarah Green Carmichael went through the considerable files HBR had on the subject and came up with the following best practices.

Focus on Constructive Feedback

Don’t bookend your critique with compliments. This sounds insincere and risks diluting your message.  Separate constructive comments from praise.

Schedule Regular Check-ins

Make giving and receiving feedback an integral part of your culture.  Checking in regularly  provides opportunities to build your relationship.

Describe the Problem Behavior: Stick to the Facts

Start with organizational outcomes.  When feedback is framed as a means to reach a departmental goal, it becomes an opportunity to solve a problem rather than criticize.  When you describe the behavior that needs to be improved, be specific.  Stick to what you have observed.  

Stay Calm

If the person becomes defensive or emotional, keep calm.  Control your reaction.  If emotions run high, suggest that you reconvene at another time when you can discuss the matter rationally and professionally.

Describe the Desired Behavior and Offer Help

Be clear and concise. Make sure the recipient understands what the desired behavior “like.” Offer to help him/her achieve the performance goal (for example, by giving more feedback, have the person shadow someone who has mastered the skill or behavior).

Follow Through

Don’t take a hit-and-run approach.  Changing behavior takes time and practice.  Whenever you interact with an employee to whom you have given constructive feedback, ask how is it going.  Follow up in your one-one-ones.  When you see a positive shift in behavior, give the individual positive feedback and recognize them for the change.