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ESSENTIALS OF FEEDBACK

Giving feedback is relaying the effect of behavior to individuals for their use and learning.
In order for feedback to be most productive and beneficial, one aspect of the process must be
emphasized:
FEEDBACK SHOULD BE HELPFUL TO THE PERSON RECEIVING IT
To be helpful, feedback to an individual must be such that the person:
a. understands the information
b. is able to accept the information
c. is able to do something about the information.
Some types of feedback serve only the needs of the person giving it and not the needs of the person
receiving it. This is likely to produce defensive reactions from the recipient and they are unlikely to
amend their behavior as a result.
HOW TO GIVE FEEDBACK
1. eedback should be in terms of specific, observable behavior and the effect of that behavior on
you personally.
!. "erceptions, reactions and opinions should be presented as such and not as facts.
#. eedback should refer to the relevant performance, behavior or outcomes $ not to the
individual as a person.
%. eedback regarding an area of performance should include a discussion of &hat is vie&ed as
the 'high( and 'lo&( points of that performance and the specific behaviors &hich appear to be
contributing to or limiting full effectiveness or accomplishment.
). In discussing problem areas in &hich there are technical or established procedures for
achieving solutions, suggestions should be made regarding possible means of improving
performance.
*. +hen feedback has to be evaluative rather than purely descriptive, it should be in terms of
established criteria, probably outcomes, or possibly improvements as opposed to making
,udgements of 'good( or ' bad(.
-. eedback should be concerned &ith those things over &hich an individual can e.ercise some
control, and may include indicators of ho& the feedback can be used for improvement or
planning alternative actions.
/. eedback shou1d avoid terms, &hich produce emotional reactions and raised defenses.
0. +hen encountering raised defenses or emotional reactions, the person giving the feedback
should deal &ith those reactions rather than trying to convince, reason, or supply additional
information.
11. eedback should be given in a manner, &hich communicates acceptance of the receiver as a
&orth&hile person and of that person2s right to be different.
11. 3sually, feedback is most effective &hen given as soon as possible after the event 4though
some aspects of a person2s performance may be better dealt &ith in private5.
HOW TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK
eedback is al&ays about past behavior and therefore receiving feedback offers the possibility of
learning something valuable, &hich may serve as a base for future development and improvement.
The follo&ing steps can increase the value of feedback for the receiver:
1. 6isten carefully and actively.
!. Try not to let defenses build, but mentally note 7uestions or disagreements and check them out
later.
#. "araphrase &hat you think you hear to check your perceptions.
%. 8sk 7uestions for clarification in those areas, &hich are unclear, or in &hich disagreement
e.ists. "araphrase ans&ers again.
). 9arefully evaluate the accuracy and potential of &hat you have heard.
*. Gather additiona1 information from other sources or by observing your o&n behavior and
other persons( reactions to it.
-. :o not overreact to feedback, but you may &ish to modify your behavior in suggested
directions and then evaluate the outcomes.