Feedback landmines

Feedback giving is generally compared to a skilled and fine art form. Feedback is more of a gourmet dish prepared to perfection by the chef who knows how to balance the ingredients and not spoil the taste by making a mistake in the ingredients itself or its quantity.

Let us analyse the major landmines which have the potential to blow up a feedback.

The feedback sandwich. The sandwich method of giving feedback has been discussed and advised often as one of the safest methods. In this a feedback is started with a positive feedback, followed by a critical one and then polishing it off with a positive one. The logic being that the receiver gets a feelgood feeling as one generally tends to remember the first and the last and are able to digest the bitter pill along with the sweets provided.

The danger here is in the endeavour to make it mild and presentable is one diluting the crucial and critical message which has the capability to alter the course of the receiver of feedback. The phrasing and intent are crucial, it should not be diluted to the level of making it ineffective.

Giving Examples. Giving examples or analogies is considered to be one of the best methods of communication etiquettes. This does not stand true in feedback giving. Why??

We need to understand every individual entity is unique in itself. Their skillsets, way of functioning, presenting and articulating too is unique. While giving a feedback we can provide suggestions, but we should never give an example as a form of comparison. The improvement has to be there in comparison to itself not to another entity.

Comparisons. Making comparisons is generally not a healthy form of communications. It holds true to giving feedback as well. While giving feedback the model one should approach is that of being direct to the point. Suggestions given should be objective, directed towards the behaviour in question not towards personality or intelligence of the person in question.

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These are three such common fallacies which have the capability of ruining a perfect feedback which holds the potential to alter or improve the feedback receiver. At the same time staying away from it can help the feedback giver to ace the skillful art of feedback giving.

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