Category Archives: Feedback giving

Feedback giving

Element Descriptor

Giving feedback on current performance to people is vital for helping people get better at what they want/need to get better at.  But it’s a can of worms and doing it well is harder than it looks.Not being able to give good feedback means that your insights into how things could be better, how an individual or group could be achieving its potential, will fall on deaf ears. Which, if nothing else, will also demoralise you.

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
With enough time and coaxing, in private, can get someone they know and who trusts/likes them to eat a praise sandwich that has been specially and lovingly prepared, on a skill where success/failure is relatively easy to measure and performance was largely satisfactory or goodGive one or more people – known to the feedback giver –  feedback in private/semi-private forums, on issues where success/failure is relatively clear, on performances that varied between not-good-enough and quite good.(Has at least practitioner level ability at the understanding ego-defence mechanisms element)Can give groups of people, some not known to the giver, feedback in any setting, on little advance notice, on performances which ranged from awful to brilliant on elements where success/failure are often ambiguous, without coming across as a doucheWith seriously next-level diplomacy skills and a thick skin, is able to give both positive and negative feedback, with specific and actionable suggestions for improvement, instantaneously, to diverse audiences of passively to openly hostile people not previously known to the giver, on performances which looked successful but had really been reliant on luck, and will lead to groups leading the wrong lessons if not challenged,  without getting sidetracked or dragged into psychodramas.(Will need enormous self-awareness, self-control, resilience for this)

Element Overview Essay

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So the causes of feedback not being given: other people are scared that if they give positive feedback, the other person might think, “oh, so and so wants to sleep with me.” And this is a problem for a woman giving a man feedback (and of course, that’s a heteronormative statement! Other combinations can also go badly wrong)

So positive feedback, good feedback, we’ll come back to that. And it might inflate their already bloated ego even further. So people are reticent to say, “Good job,” which is a pity.

Before we continue, feedback is feedback and if you start putting the words positive and negative on it, life gets complicated

So the, the causes of giving feedback that someone would find challenging is that everyone has ego defence mechanisms. And people are afraid of triggering those being seen as the bad guy being told “You’re not the boss of me. Who the hell do you think you are? And since you’re criticising me, I’m going to criticise you”, and then everything spiralling. 

The consequences of not giving feedback is, if someone’s done a really good job and they don’t get any recognition or praise for it, they’re gonna feel demoralised. Probably, and if they’ve done a job that could have been better, and they don’t get specific, prompt, constructive feedback, then they’re likely to continue doing that. And maybe demoralising themselves because they slowly realised they’ve done a half assed job, but probably demoralising other people who were hoping that job would be done a bit better. That’s not a good outcome. 

So, getting better at giving feedback, well obviously, practice. There are various guides about how to do it. 

There’s this notion of a praise sandwich, which I personally find quite patronising. 

There’s choosing your moments as well. Obviously. If someone’s in a really extreme place, then you don’t want to be giving feedback even if it is in private and it’s compassionate as it should be. You know, there is a time and a place 

And on the flip side, if people are celebrating an almost brilliant thing and then you come along with something that’s true, but small and not particularly significant. You’re just pissing on the chips, you’re a buzzkill. You’re bringing mood down, you know, that can be dealt with the following day. It’s fine.

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