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Is a gift, is easy to do and can get great results if done right... Here are 3 models to consider for how to give feedback


  • Situation: describe the situation, e.g. “In yesterday's staff meeting”

  • Behavior: describe the person’s actual specific behavior, e.g. “… your positioning of the agenda to customer goals”

  • Impact: "gave everyone a clear sense of direction and their individual goals"

Manager Tools Model

  • Ask for permission: “May I give you some feedback?”

  • Describe behavior, e.g. “When you gave Jane advice on test coverage …”

  • Describe impact, e.g. “… this helps her, and us as a team, produce better-tested code.”

  • Next steps: for positive feedback, thank them, e.g. “thanks, keep it up”. For negative feedback, ask for a change, e.g., “can you do something different next time?”

Needs Based Feedback

  • Frame the discussion: Describe the situation without judgement, "I'd like to discuss yesterday's sales presentation"

  • Uncover employee perspective: Ask for the employee’s point of view, "What's your sense of how it went?"

  • Consider the impact: Help the employee identify the impact of the issue on others, "What could be the impact if this continues?"

  • Clarify the structure: Clarifying relevant policies, procedures, or guidelines, " “Meeting our deadlines is a key customer expectation.”

  • Explore next steps: Co-creating next steps empowers and motivates employees (See my other Self Determination posts), “How do you think we might address this issue?”

Top tips

  • Address behavior when it happens: Waiting 3 months to tell an employee they exceeded expectations or were below standard devalues the feedback and damages your credibility with that employee

  • “Catch” someone doing something right - recognize good!

  • "Call out” something that they could have done better

  • Document the feedback you give - keep a journal or file on each employee

  • Clarify what good looks like or what needs to be improved; make it experiential vs. being told

  • Keep feedback balanced over time

  • Give examples Every. Single. Time.

  • When giving constructive or aligning feedback? Do it in private.

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