What Is The Difference Between Open-Ended And Closed-Ended Questions How To Give And Receive Feedback

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How To Give And Receive Feedback

Providing feedback to staff is always tough, but if

it’s “constructive,” you not only get the message across, but

also build a more cohesive and capable team as a result.

During a “Managing Performance” session recently we covered

what it takes to give praise and also constructive feedback.

Sometimes we feel uncomfortable when we have to pull employees

up – but this need not be the case if we do it in the right

manner.

Hence this tip!

Do you remember when your parents told you to eat your veg

because they were good for you?

Now that you’re an adult, you know they were right!

Well, just as they were right from the beginning, I’m asking you

to trust me when I tell you this:

“Constructive feedback is the only way to learn and develop -both

personally and professionally”

That means, you as Manager, have a responsibility to your staff

to help them develop. That means, you have to give constructive

feedback.

What is constructive feedback?

First, I’ll tell you what it’s not.

Constructive feedback is not criticism (which has a negative

connotation because it is so often generalised and personal).

Constructive feedback is a not personal (e.g. you are lazy), but

a targeted response to an individual’s action or behaviour (e.g.

you did not accomplish the task you agreed to complete) that is

intended to help them learn, and is delivered from a place of

respect.

Constructive feedback is not “closed” but rather invites the

individual receiving the feedback to shed light, share their

perspective, or provide their response. (e.g. Do you see it

differently?)

Constructive feedback does not blame, but presents a

collaborative approach to problem-solving. (e.g. If we are all

to go home tonight on time, task A needs to get done. What

support can the team offer to finish task A, so that everyone

gets to go home on time.)

Why constructive feedback works…

Constructive feedback enables us to give honest, “tough

messages” to those with whom we work.

However, instead of insulting, shutting-down others, or

alienating those who receive the feedback, and thus lowering

their morale and their resulting productivity, it motivates them

to ask for help, and acknowledge a skill or competency

deficiency, while feeling supported and respected.

Two of the most important factors influencing employee

retention/satisfaction are: “great boss,” and “feeling part of a

team” (Hay Group Study on retention). Constructive feedback,

because it is delivered out of respect and a genuine desire for

the individual to improve, accomplishes both.

Providing feedback, in this way, enables you to build the

competency and cohesiveness of your team, while effectively

managing performance issues. It also enables you to remain

respected, well liked, and overall, considered ” a great boss.”

Principles of feedback

1. Choose correct timing for feedback

Praise is most effective when given as soon as possible after

the behaviour has occurred. Immediate feedback will help to

reinforce a correct behaviour and make it more likely to happen

again.

When an incorrect behaviour is not corrected with feedback, the

staff member may incorporate it into his or her customer of

colleague interactions unknowingly. It is highly desirable,

when possible, to give corrective feedback before the situation

occurs again.

2. Ask for self assessment

Beginning by asking the person for self-assessment involves them

in the feedback process.

It helps to promote an open atmosphere and dialogue between the

person doing the coaching and the person being coached. Often

the person is well aware of his or her won strengths and

weaknesses.

It is more effective to allow the person to voice opinions

before providing your own assessment of performance.

Through self-assessment, the person can gradually assume more

responsibility for his or her own abilities and performance.

3. Focus on specifics

When you focus on a specific correct or incorrect behaviour, you

remove the feedback from the sphere of personality differences

and the other person will be more willing and able to change.

For example, when providing corrective feedback:

Do: “When you were talking to customer xyz, I noticed that you

forgot to use her name”

Don’t: “You are not building rapport with the customer”

When providing praise:

Do: “When you spoke to customer xyz, I noticed that you used

really good open and closed questioning techniques”

Don’t: “You communicated well there”

4. Limit feedback to a few important points

Good coaches and communicators identify one or two critical

areas and help the person address them one at a time.

It is too hard to examine and try to change many aspects of

behaviour at one time.

Restrict your feedback to one or two important points so that

you do not overwhelm the other person with too many things to

consider.

5. Provide more praise than corrective feedback

Positive reinforcement is one of the strongest factors in

bringing about change.

Unfortunately a lot of people always focus on the negative.

When you give corrective feedback, remember to point out

corrective behaviours first. This is as important as pointing

out mistakes and areas that need improvement.

And always end the conversation on a positive.

6. Give praise for expected performance

People deserve to be praised for doing their job to the expected

level. Too many people take the expected level for granted

however.

Remember that praising anyone who meets established standards is

as important as praising the exceptional performer.

Praise is a strong motivator, and enough praise may be what it

takes to turn an average employee into an exceptional one.

7. Develop Action Plans

Work together to identify the desired performance or result and

how it can be achieved.

Decide when the steps will be accomplished.

Useful techniques to use when giving feedback..

Now that we have highlighted the main principles of giving

feedback, lets look at some useful techniques we can use in

feedback sessions:

Open-ended questioning

Use open-ended questions to allow and encourage the person to

give more detail and elaborate.

Use words like:

What?

How?

Who?

Tell me?

Avoid closed questions when you are trying to get more

information from someone.

Avoid words like:

Do you?

Did you?

Have you?

Also be careful when you use the word “Why”. The person may

think that you are blaming them or being critical if you use it.

They may think that you disagree with them if you use this word.

Reflecting Back

This is about putting what the other person has said into your

own words and reflecting it back.

This is called paraphrasing and by doing this it shows that you

are listening and more importantly that you are listening and

understanding!

For example:

Individual – “I always seem to get the rough end of the stick –

no-one listens to me at all..”

You – “You seem concerned that no-one listens to you and that

you seem to be getting a dumb deal”

Maintaining Silence

Encourage the person to take their time.

Always give the other person time to think through their reply

to a challenging answer.

Do not feel uncomfortable about silences but do be wary that

silence can make people feel very uncomfortable.

Maintain eye contact and demonstrate an interest.

Summarising

Summarise the output of the meeting and action plan to ensure

that you have heard correctly and understood from his/her

perspective.

Restate the key aspects of the feedback discussion

Conclude the discussion and focus on planning for the future.

Example: “The three major issues you raised were…”

” To summarise then….”

Being Sensitive

Acting sensitive to the needs of the person is important as they

may reject the feedback initially.

Give the person space to think in his/her time. This may help

the person to absorb the feedback

Initiating Action and Offering Ideas

Example:

“Can you think of an action that would help build on your skills

in this area?”

Offer ideas without forcing your personal opinion.

“One thing you might do is.”

“Have you thought about..”

“Your options include..”

“What can I do to help?”

Gaining Ownership

Help the person to integrate the feedback into their own

experience and view of themselves.

Link the feedback as much as possible to business results and

objectives – this will help increase ownership.

Any change in behaviour will only occur through acceptance and

ownership of then feedback by that person.

Receiving Feedback

As long as feedback is given in a non-judgmental and appropriate

way, it is a valuable piece of information for learning and for

our continued development as a person.

Constructive feedback is critical for self-development and

growth; here are some points to bare in mind when you receive

feedback.

1. Don’t shy away from constructive feedback, welcome it

2. Accept feedback of any sort for what it is – information

3. Evaluate the feedback before responding

4. Make your own choice about what you intend to do with the

information

The feedback emotional roller-coaster

Whether you are giving or receiving feedback it is useful to

bare in mind the following model when it comes to people who

receive feedback.

D A W A

D ENIAL

When people first receive feedback, they have a tendency to deny

it. Please avoid immediate defensiveness – arguing, denying and

justifying. This just gets in the way of your appreciation of

the information you are being given.

A NGER

After the denial stage comes anger! So you’ve been told that

your work is not as good as what it ought to be. You’ve

said, “It’s as good as always” so you are denying it then you

become angry as it stews in your mind and body. The immediate

reaction is to fume!

W ITHDRAWAL

After the anger has calmed down, the person has had time to

reflect and ponder on the feedback. “Well, I have been making

more mistakes then normal” This is when time is taken out to

mull over the feedback and think about what it actually means.

A CCEPTANCE

The final part of this model is finally accepting the feedback,

assessing its value and the consequences of ignoring it, or

using it. “I HAVE been making mistakes”

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