Give Real Feedback or Say Nothing
Most ‘feedback’ sounds like this:
- You’re awesome.
- Good job.
- Nicely done.
- You’re cutting corners.
- You have a bad attitude.
- You’re not committed.
- You’re careless.
- You’re disengaged.
I’m not sure why, I wish I could give you a good reason, but the vague phrases above are what come out of people’s mouth’s first when giving feedback. To prevent giving fake feedback, you have to prepare.
There is a reason you think the person is awesome or has a bad attitude. What did they do that created that impression? Until you can describe what the person did to create an impression, you’re not ready to give feedback. You’re better off saying nothing.
All of the phrases above are opinions with no facts. Opinions are judgments. Feeling judged makes people defensive. When people are defensive, it’s hard to listen.
The purpose of feedback is to help another person. Give the person enough information that they know what to replicate and what to change. Before you give feedback, write down three things the person did that created your impression. If you can’t give an example, wait to have the conversation until you can. It’s better to say nothing than to say something vague and unhelpful.
Vague positive feedback sounds inauthentic. Vague negative feedback is judgmental. Neither strengthens your relationship or are helpful.
If you really want to be heard and you want to be helpful, provide an example. No example, no feedback.
Tags: candor questions, give real feedback, giving feedback, giving negative feedback, holiday offer, how to say anything to anyone, real feedback
When it comes to waiting to give better feedback, is there ever a “time limit” on this? When it comes to giving that feedback, and you have an example, what time frame do you recommend? I find many people waiting WAY too long, and that feedback is less effective because of that.
Hi Heather, I always suggest practicing the 24-hour guidelines and the one-week rule. Wait 24 hours to give feedback, if you’re upset but don’t wait longer than a week. I give people a max of two weeks (although one week is much better!). After two weeks, call it a missed opportunity and have the conversation right away if the person does the behavior again. Tell the person, “I’ve seen this before/it’s a trend. I should have said something earlier. Let’s start from today.” I hope this helps!