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Effective Feedback 101

  • Posted by: Ellen Kandell
Giving and receiving feedback are integral to effective workplace communication. Effective feedback helps to foster positive learning and growth amongst all employees. Feedback can be given either daily or in the moment. Sheila Heen, author of “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well,” specifies three types of feedback based upon their purpose: evaluation, appreciation, and coaching. Let’s take a closer look at these feedback styles and how they can enhance workplace communication.

Evaluation feedback informs the person of where they stand with their current performance. This type of feedback needs to be done in the moment, and it gives the employee clear expectations. It allows them to feel reassured and safe, which results in them receiving the feedback positively and working toward improved performance. Evaluation feedback should be assigned a rating or ranking, which is often a comparison between other employees or a set of standards to be judged against. Evaluation feedback can be provided at a scheduled meeting or on a daily basis.

Appreciation feedback should be given on a daily basis to motivate the employee to continue doing their best. This feedback should be provided when you want to show appreciation or thank the person for their contribution. Regular acknowledgement of an employee’s performance builds trust in the working relationship and encourages the employee to celebrate their successes. Effective appreciation feedback is specific, authentic, and connected to the receiver’s values. This specificity allows the employee to know what exactly he or she did that prompted the appreciation feedback.

Coaching feedback further inspires the employee and leads them to continual growth and improvement. Although it is different from evaluation and appreciation, it can contain elements of both, and it involves regular and periodic reviews. Some of the benefits of coaching feedback include encouraging employees to maintain effective behaviors and to increase those behaviors, preventing them from engaging in behaviors that may hinder growth and success, and promoting employee commitment.

Improperly delivered feedback causes lots of conflict in organizations. Managing team conflict properly allows it to serve as a catalyst for change and growth, rather than a drain of your organization’s energy and resources. Giving and receiving feedback is an effective way to establish and strengthen trust between leaders and employees. Its goal should always be to improve performance and lead to positive outcomes for the employee and the organization.

Ellen F. Kandell is a certified professional mediator and attorney with over 30 years of public and private sector experience. She is one of eight Maryland mediators featured on a statewide demonstration video of good mediation practice. Ellen is certified by the International Mediation Institute.  She provides mediationgroup facilitation and training to diverse clients in Washington, DC and the US. Get in touch with her via email, and follow her on LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Author: Ellen Kandell

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