Tips on how to give feedback

No continuous feedback loop,
no growth!
Our workplaces are changing, especially during the last two years. As the pace of the world increases, so does the demand for fast and continuous learning in the professional environment.

In the business model we both were trained and educated and worked as well, so-called feedback focused on an annual evaluation conversation in which the management told his/her employee what improvement points or objectives he/she had failed to achieve during the year.

These discussions often frustrated the people, as they were not based on specific facts or given examples to justify them. Also, since they were held once a year, there was no time to react, or, often, the person could not remember the points discussed because of the time that had passed. Additionally, it was not easy to counter, for fear of the consequences.

This process became a subjective, dishonest and inefficient communication process that did not result in any intention to improve or develop.

We value our people,
we challenge them with sincerity.

Companies need to take their people and communication competencies to a higher level.

And there is help. By feedback. Based on Radical Candor, ActioGlobal has developed a very powerful feedback program. The concept has originally been created by Kim Scott, who worked in some of the most prestigious technology companies in the United States, such as YouTube, Apple, Google, Dropbox and Twitter.

Radical Candor” is today a true best seller, which explains how to become an influential leader without losing the human side.

We are living an era of unprecedented disruption in which organizations must strive to transform themselves as our world of work is also changing.

Millennials increasingly dominate the workforce and their generation’s values are shaping the future of our businesses. Having grown up with the high-speed feedback cycles of social media, new generations are looking for challenging jobs that provide them the opportunity to grow and develop through learning.

This new context challenges teams and individuals to constantly engage with each other to achieve their objectives.

Annual evaluation is obsolete. Continuous feedback is becoming a supporting pillar in this process.

Some of the questions that have driven management around over the last decades are

How can we empower the work teams?

How can we discover talents and develop them to improve and be more productive?

How can we be creative and brilliant as well as efficient?

How can leadership guide their teams in a "human" way and still be effective?

The need to find answers has made the companies to book courses in emotional intelligence, communication, coaching, motivation, etc. – however, most often without the desired success

Reasons?

Each individual has a way of thinking, acting and reacting. When we bring together several individuals to form part of a stable work group, then these individuals become a team. And, this team will also have a way of thinking, acting and reacting. Well, is this the way we want it to be?

"No one can develop a strength unless he is aware of it, just as no one can correct or improve a weakness unless he recognizes it."

Kim Scott

Radical Candor, the best way to give feedback.

It´s here where the supporting pillars of Radical Candor lie: They are based on two axes, the first one is to value people, to care about them and to be concerned about them. The second is to have the courage to be honest with them, challenging them so that they can improve.

It all starts when we are young and we are told not to hurt other people’s feelings, that if we have nothing nice to say, we should not say anything at all. Then in adulthood it becomes very difficult for us to put into words and honestly express the impact of other people’s actions and behavior on us or our team.

It seems logical that, faced with this barrier, it will be quite difficult to be a team that develops, grows, improves and exploits its full potential.
One simple tip: We have to be human, we have to care about people, and that’s precisely why we have to challenge them to learn – and we need

7 things to keep in mind about how to give feedback:

1. Do not give any advice that has not been requested

Make Radical Candor a routine in your company, so that asking for constructive feedback becomes a habit.

2. Put yourself in the place of the other person (empathy)

Be honest, do not camouflage the truth with nice words since you want to help the colleague grow.

3. Keep it private

It is a professional conversation but, however, it´s personal as well.

4. Propose solutions

It´s not about generally criticizing or venting about personal matters.

5. Stick to a specific topic

Be specific about the situation you are referring to, place your partner in the context.

6. Follow up

Constructive feedback means assisting the individual and the team both in their project and personal development.

7. Let the other person know if you improved your attitude

Convert the facts you were told into action.

If you want to make a difference in your company,
change the Feedback culture.

Which are our challenges when giving feedback?

When we think of constructive feedback, we think of how difficult it is to give, how challenging it is, how scary it is to leave our comfort zone. Giving and receiving constructive feedback hurts.
Empathy, the enemy of honest communication
We have always been told that empathy is a quality that makes it easier for us to relate to others, that makes us understand people, respect their feelings, and makes us more human and collaborative. However, there is a dark side to empathy since it puts us in the other persons’ shoes, we can imagine how they feel, and that prevents us from being honest. We worry about making them feel bad, ashamed or guilty, we decide then, due to empathy, not to communicate frankly, to camouflage the truth with nice words, even with lies, in order not to hurt them. But we must be aware that we are not helping the person with such behavior.

Giving feedback is painful, so why do we have to do it at all?

Quite simply, because it is the only way to learn something we are not even aware of yet. If our goal and ambition is to become the high performing team we desire, to be the most productive, innovative and efficient, we will have no choice but to implement a Radical Candor feedback culture. As we discussed at the beginning, we will not find the answers anywhere else. And although we know it hurts, and it will not be easy at first, if we do it right, it will soon become a habit and will no longer be awkward.

Just like giving feedback, receiving it also hurts, so it will be important for us to do a valiant exercise in our pursuit of improvement and learning.

A MOdel of
high impact

A simple but revolutionary model that ActioGlobal implements in a 5-phase program with demonstrated results in the world’s best organizations.

What should we avoid when receiving feedback?

Don't blame yourself.

No one is perfect, when we get constructive feedback, we should focus on what we can do better.

Don't argue.

When we receive criticism, the first step is to stand back and think before responding. We cannot change what the other person has said, but we can manage our reaction.

Don't interrupt.

We listen to understand, not to cut off.

Don't take feedback as a reproach.

Feedback means facts, and that’s how we should treat it.

"Honest feedback is the food of agility and high performance. These data give us the advantage to grow as individuals and as an organization."

To do this, we are adopting Radical Candor as the feeback model that teaches us to challenge with honesty and appreciation. Without a doubt, a “must have” in our day to day, to continue promoting a great mindset for a great team. Thank you ActioGlobal for joining us on this path.
Helena Matabosch
HR Director Unilever Spain

How to give feedback to the people we work with?

It is essential that management recognizes this approach as a great opportunity for everyone to improve. Consider it a proactive role to help your colleague or the management become aware of things that will increase job satisfaction.

Remember that feedback is intended to help us change our behavior at work to improve performance in our jobs.

The goal of such a conversation is to improve your work situation by helping your leader or colleague become aware of things maybe in a project that are troubling you or that are not going the way you need them to. Remember that feedback is a professional conversation, it is by no means about criticizing or venting about personal matters.

To be honest, it is always troublesome to tell leadership that we do not feel their performance is as effective as they think it is. As intimidating and worrying as it may seem, it is equally important that you point out to them the positive and negative aspects of their management, just as the manager should do the other way round. This is why both parties must have a commitment to improving and growing.
4 stepts to follow when giving feedback
There are 4 very particular steps we must follow to tell people what we need to tell them so that they do not take it as a reproach.
1.

Situation

First of all, place the person in the context of what you want to talk about. Be specific about the moment/s you are referring to.
2.

Impact

Secondly, explain specifically the impact of his/her action, e. g. how it has made you feel, what delays it has produced or what impression it has given you.
3.

Pause

In this step, we pause so that the conversation partner can comprehend the facts and let him/her have a chance to speak.
4.

Opportunity

We will end the feedback project by offering our partner opportunities for improvement. Ideas, challenges that we can offer to help him/her to manage similar situations.
Although giving feedback is extremely important, it is not enough.

In order to implement a Radical Candor culture in the team people need to know how to ask for, accept and promote feedback.
Creating a psychologically safe environment and a culture where feedback, openness, and creativity are appreciated is not achieved all at once: you have to sow for what you want to reap. In addition, it is key to invite participation and encourage exchange of ideas, leaving room for failure. Creating this safe haven will be key to making people feel free to share their opinions openly and feel comfortable with themselves, with their flaws and virtues and be innovative. But it does not mean being a particularly “buddy” leader, but quite the opposite: it requires courage, risk-taking and empathy, as well as genuine curiosity in the ideas expressed by the people on your team.

Transparency and honesty are critical to building a successful business and a strong culture, as well as to building trust among all employees. Without trust, communication falls apart and when this happens, processes start to become inefficient and people’s motivation drops. These facts show that feedback is a highly powerful tool for organizational development.

Any organization that strives to both adapt to the age we live in and compete vigorously will need to implement continuous feedback systems to facilitate a psychologically safe environment, enable fast learning as well as agility and high performance to improve results.

FAQ

Giving feedback to a colleague, given the relationship we have with him/her, can lead us to empathize and probably make it difficult to be honest so as not to make him/her feel bad. It is important that we are clear about the objective. We also have to make clear that we want to help our colleague to improve because we appreciate him/her, and if he/she improves, this will have a positive impact on the performance of the whole team. We must be specific, give examples and explain in detail why and how we suggest that he/she can improve.
El feedback son datos, es información que no teníamos y se nos ofrece para que podamos tomar decisiones. Son datos, porque es objetivo, debe de ser específico y estar basado en hechos. El feedback es una herramienta muy poderosa de aprendizaje. No debemos hacer referencia a la personalidad, sino a los hechos. Si queremos dar feedback a Luís sobre su presentación, no es lo mismo decir “Eres muy repetitivo cuando presentas”, dónde estamos personalizando, a “Luís, cuando has hablado del impacto financiero, he notado que los has comentado en 3 ocasiones”.

El feedback debe de ser inmediato, continuo y darse entre compañeros, del jefe al empleado y del empleado al jefe.
If we want to give feedback in a professional way, we must consider some key aspects. The first is our intention in giving fthis particular eedback? The intention should be to seek improvement and learning. Once we are clear about the intention, we have to look for the best opportunity, and whenever possible we give feedback privately face-to-face, never in public. In this context, first step will be to describe the situation we want to talk about: this morning’s meeting, last Friday’s presentation, the proposal you have just presented, etc. Secondly, we will comment on the impact that this action has had on us, here we have to be very specific and strictly based on facts: “When you raised the issue of teamwork, you laughed, and I took it to mean that you did not take it seriously”. 
We should pause so that the person can understand what we’ ve been saying, and can even respond. Finally, we should provide ideas or suggestions to improve in this aspect or prevent it from happening again in the future.  Please remember that the focus is on improvement, not criticism.

"It was a turning point to have given Radical Candor training to 1100 employees. It was the best investment we have ever made."

Elisabeth Guasch
HR Director Europe Adevinta

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