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The 9th Habit- The Art Of Giving Feedback.

Thought-provoking is much more effective, when done in a learning manner and done with genuine concern for the people receiving feedback.

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In my last column The 9th Habit of Effective, Real & Great Leaders I shared some insights from my book The 9th Habit about how secure, mature people seek, celebrate and value feedback because Feedback is the multivitamin of champions for continuous improvement. In continuation I am sharing about the art of giving feedback.

Few people enjoy having their ideas and opinions evaluated and appraised. However, the best way to learn is by challenging our thinking to provoke better insights and thinking. Challenging other people can prove to be confrontational and hostile and then they are unlikely to really listen with the intent to realise/understand and may respond by becoming defensive rather than reflecting about what has been shared for their continuous improvement.

Thought-provoking is much more effective, when done in a learning manner and done with genuine concern for the people receiving feedback. While giving feedback our mindset should be “I share feedback because I care for you and your growth, development and progress and not because I want to criticise you”

Here are some useful guidelines, which can be adapted to make giving feedback easier.

When challenging people’s choices (logic/reason): Help me to understand… This makes the other person work through their logic, often leading them to see gaps they may not have noticed.

When challenging behaviour (mindset/attitude): May I please understand what you were intending to achieve there? This takes away the sense of being judgemental.

When challenging assumptions (expectations/traditions): May I know what factors you took into account here? What assumptions were you making? This prevents the other person feeling that we are questioning their intellect.

When challenging perceptions: May In please understand from you the context, in which you were looking at this? – so we don’t appear to be questioning their judgement.

When questioning values: What are the personal/organisational values you are trying to apply here? What’s important to you in this situation?

An alternative way of challenging is to reflect back your own feelings. For example: • I’m feeling confused at this point… • I don’t feel very comfortable with that statement… • My instinct tells me that this is not right… In each case, you are taking the focus (and hence any hint of criticism or fault) back towards yourself, so it is easier for the other person to respond generously.

We must remember there are two types of feedback: positive and constructive, which is sometimes called ‘negative.’ With the former, you praise someone for doing well at their job. The latter is intended to address performance issues, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. No one is perfect. The people you manage will make mistakes at some point, and giving constructive feedback is the clearest and most effective way to enable their transformation.

When delivered properly, sincere feedback can provide benefits as given below:

1.People are motivated to improve.

2. It improves performance.

3. It encourages learning.

While giving feedback remember the 10 commandments of giving feedback effectively.

1. Take a Positive Approach

2. Keep It Private

3. Confront reality of the situation and not the person

4. Be specific and succinct

5. Be timely and factual.

6. Avoid being Judgmental

7. Help people reflect and introspect

8. Seek their clarifications

9. Seek their insights

10. End on a positive note.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Jerry is a management & OD consultant, celebrated inspirational orator, teacher, UN advisor, internationally certified leadership subject matter expert, trainer, Executive coach and an effective, innovative fundraiser and missionary entrepreneur

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