In this second part of the Effective Feedback series, I would like to go over the steps that were given to us in the session to give effective feedback. If you look back at the other approaches I have talked about before, you will see that their core they all advocate for giving feedback through the use of examples and stating the impact of the actions. One quote that I really did like from the session, that applies to whatever method you choose, is as follows:

Aim to educate, not assassinate

8 Step Structured Conversations

The following is the template which was provided to give effective feedback.

  1. The Issue
    What is the item that needs to be discussed? This is usually short and sounds something to the effect of "Hey, I just quickly wanted to chat to you about your comments in standup today"

  2. Your Intent
    This is the reason for the conversation; the why. To continue from the example above, this would look like "My intention for this chat is to make sure that other people on the team don't feel belittled when you review their work"

  3. Facts & Examples
    Never discuss options, only facts. It is very hard to argue with the truth, but opinions can be debated. If you are unsure what a fact would look like, you can use the camera tip from the SBI Technique. This would look like as follows: "When you made those snide remarks about Felix's work and sarcastically commented that it could have been done better if we had done what you said."

  4. Opinions & Feelings
    Explain how this made you feel. This is your viewpoint and opinion. This would go as follows: "I saw the way it affected him and I'm worried that it knocked any little confidence that he had built up."

  5. The Stakes
    Discuss the consequences if things fail to change. You may also explain the consequences for you, the team or organisation if they care about them more those than themselves. For example, "If this behaviour doesn't stop I'm going to request to have you removed off the team"

  6. Your Contribution
    If there is anything that you have done to contribute to the situation, then state it and own it. This would go something along the following lines "I understand that I have let this issue go by in the past and I should have stopped it sooner"

  7. Repeat Your Intent
    Repeat your intent from the second point above to keep the conversation calm.

  8. Get Their Thoughts
    Ask them for their side of the story, as there are always two sides. Typically, this would be something like "So what are your thoughts on this?"

Different Types of Responses

In these types of situations, people tend to either have the flight or fight reaction. For example, they may raise their voice and become angry, or they may be still and quiet. Either way, you need to be able to handle those situations.

"Hulk Smash"

The simplest thing to do if people become angry and shout is to let them go at it until they run out of steam. At some point they will calm down and if you don't add fuel to the fire by talking, they will eventually stop.

As Quiet as a Mouse

People may sometimes retreat into their hole. If this is the case then don’t keep on talking, but give them some space. Don't let them dig themselves deeper.

Either way you need to acknowledge their response by saying "I understand you feel upset/angry..."

"But...But...But"

Some people may try to interrupt you while you speak. Don't let them do this. You can just say "Please give me 2 minutes to explain and set the context"

And this brings and end to this series of posts. I hope you enjoyed it and you find some value in this to use in the future. Lastly, I would just like to give out a special thanks to Donna Edwards and Rob Crowley for running an excellent, informative session.

Until next time...keep learning!