Giving and receiving effective feedback
Find out why we give personal feedback, how to provide effective feedback, what makes feedback ineffective and how to deal with poorly phrased feedback. Learning what makes feedback effective helps you to seek your own feedback and improve, whilst being able to support the people around you.
This is suitable for anyone who’s nervous about giving or getting feedback. Coaches and other Agile Transformers may find this simple workshop helpful for their own teams.
Four pieces of feedback have been written for our developer, George:
- A glowing report of praise
- A balanced report with some suggestions for the future
- An unconstructive and possibly unfair review
- The same review, rewritten after attending this feedback workshop.
We start by examining why feedback is given - to improve confidence and increase effectiveness - then look at each of the reports in turn. We ask whether each of them improves confidence and increases effectiveness, and look how George could use each piece of feedback most effectively.
By the time we move on to the “negative” review, it is obvious that there are more constructive ways of giving feedback. We ask, “Who’s does the feedback reflect on most? George, or the person who wrote it?” By showing how easy it is to reword feedback constructively following some simple principles, we reduce the fear of receiving feedback like this, making it easier for participants to deliberately invite feedback. We also talk about positive ways of treating such feedback, and how to invite and elicit better feedback.
Having seen that feedback can be rephrased, that some feedback - even poorly phrased - is better than not knowing, and that personal feedback need never cause a personal rift, we ask, “Is there any such thing as negative feedback?”
We look at porpoise, sandwich and Atkins feedback models, and examine when / where those models are appropriate.
Some of the principles that we cover (shown through excerpts in the examples) are:
- anchor the things you value
- say what you see
- use examples
- use 2nd person
- look to the future
- no such thing as negative feedback
The participants themselves come up with these principles by looking at the differences between the different reports. Although we use written feedback as a prompt for discussion, the same principles apply to spoken and casual feedback.
This workshop has been run successfully at Thoughtworks University and with clients undergoing Agile transformation.
- why and when feedback should be given
- how to elicit effective feedback from others
- how to provide effective feedback
- how to spot and reframe ineffective feedback
- how to ask for more useful feedback
- three feedback models and how they evolve with familiarity with the subject
- tips and techniques for using feedback in a team