PE-ER Feedback is one of the key value components of our new commitment tracking application, being introduced this fall, so we take this process very seriously. I also believe this applies to business in general so the thoughts here can apply across the board.
Usually, commitment feedback can be given two ways: through positive feedback or negative feedback.
I caution all leaders to avoid falling into the trap of giving confusing, unusable, or fluffy feedback. On the platform, we encourage Requesters to take their feedback role as both an obligation and an honor so it must be considerate, well thought out and provide a balance of praise or criticism, where necessary, on every completed feedback.
We are about being intentional, authentic, and high integrity so it is really about respect and balance so with that in mind here are some topical guidelines:
- Feedback should be specific, commitment-focused, and based on first-hand observations. Generally, it is going to take one of two directions: Positive feedback with opportunities for improvement if desired or Negative feedback with opportunities for improvement. Input is limited to 1500 characters so it should be focused on the commitment, and based on how you felt the expectations were met, as objectively as possible.
- Be concise when delivering your message. Get to the point and avoid beating around the bush. Both negative and positive feedback should be given in a straightforward manner. Avoid filling the space with a fuzzy language where a Maker really doesn’t know how to respond. If they have to ask themselves, was that good or bad, then your feedback missed the mark.
- Be sincere, do not give mixed messages. Authenticity stands for being someone who means what they say with care and respect. Don’t fall into the habit of doing mixed message feedbacks which we refer to as “yes, but” messages.
Here is an example; “Jim, you have worked hard on this project, but. . ..” The word “but,” along with its cousins “however” and “although,” when said in the middle of a thought, creates contradictions or mixed messages. In essence, putting “but” in the middle tells the other person, “Don’t believe a thing I said before.”
- When providing positive feedback, express appreciation. Praise alone is good but praise with appreciation is better. When you add it to the specifics of positive feedback, your message carries an extra oomph of sincerity. For example: “Mary, your handling of all the paperwork while John did the callbacks, made for an efficient effort and showed good teamwork. Everything you did was accurate, as well. Thanks so much for helping out. Such initiative is a real value to the team.”
- When providing negative feedback, express concern. A tone of concern communicates a sense of importance and care and provides the appropriate level of sincerity to the message. Tones such as anger, frustration, disappointment, and the ever-popular sarcasm tend to intensify the language of the message and turn attempts at negative feedback into sharp, often unfair, criticism. The content of the message gets lost in the noise and harshness.
- The purpose of negative feedback is to create awareness that can lead to improvement in delivery or quality. If you can’t give negative feedback in a helpful manner, in the language and tone of concern, you defeat its purpose.
- Give the feedback person-to-person first, then put it into the platform technology. The best flow of constructive feedback is verbal and informal initially, followed up with written confirmation. We recommend that you begin by talking to the employee, either face-to-face — or by phone. Once you have provided the feedback personally, then commit the feedback on the platform.
The answer should be ASAP (as soon as possible). Positive feedback is meant to be given in real-time, as close as possible to when the commitment delivery occurs so that the events are fresh in everyone’s minds. When feedback is given well after the fact, the value of the feedback is lessened.
When giving negative feedback, you may want to apply a slightly different timeline:ASAR (As Soon as Ready — that is, when you’re ready).
Sometimes when a commitment delivery fails or expires, you may be feeling angry or frustrated about it, and you need time to cool off and get your thoughts together before you give any negative feedback. Our recommendation is that “reasonable” is usually within 24 hours but not to exceed 48 hours.
I would love to have a discussion with you regarding how you can establish this as a part of your current culture. For more information, please feel free to call me at 630-454-4821.