Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giving feedback

We all can do with a bit of self-reflection and feedback.

Giving feedback, hoever, is an art in itself.
It's not throwing your opinion at the feet of the other, but enabling self-reflection and maybe change.

Feedback isn't about interpretations, because the other doesn't need your stream of thoughts, but it's about what can be observed.
So don't tell the other you saw he was upset, because he might get into a discussion with you stating he wasn't upset at all.

Describe what can be observed: I saw you were standing in the kitchen and the knife sounded very hard when it was put down, your face was read, your voice was loud, and when you walked away I heard the door close very loud with a smash.

Feedback should be given as soon as possible after an incident, so the person can look back at his behaviour and remember his feelings and thoughts, but not before anger and irritation are gone.

Describe what you have observed as neutral as possible and in words that indicate it's your perception.
It's important that the other doesn't feel he or she should defend him/herself or can start a discussion.

Be as concrete as possible.

Never say: you did..., but I feel...

And check if the message your trying to get across has arrived: "Do you recognise this? Do you understand what I mean?"

When the other can't deal with the feedback, accept that.
Stay close to the aim of your feedback.
Only give feedback when you know the behaviour you're giving feedback on can be changed.

It's ofcourse best when you're able to give alternative behaviours to try out, and explain why these behaviours might enhance the way the other functions.
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