How we give Feedback

We give feedback all the time, actively or passively; it is a natural process and crucial for our growth. At MIU, we focus on positive reinforcement because it motivates and solidifies effective actions. A good way to start is to “catch people doing the right thing” and let them know. We want to help you with some guidelines to make feedback powerful for you.

Feedback should be:

  • Honest, positive, objective, and fair (“Speak the sweet truth”- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)
  • Clear and specific
  • Frequent
  • Well-timed, usually best “When you see something, say something”
  • Observable behavior and facts
  • Points out the expected behavior or performance
  • Describes an action plan

Additional tips:

  • It is always good to ask the person if they are open to feedback.
  • Compassionate, open-minded listening is the foundation for powerful feedback.
  • Be mindful of your own emotions and intentions. Feedback should be targeted at the employee’s development. It’s not a venting session or an opportunity to share frustrations. If you’re upset and not in control of your own emotions, then it’s not good timing.
  • Before you go into a situation to give feedback, focus on seeing the good in the other person, if you cannot, then that is not the time to give feedback. “The ego searches for shortcomings and weaknesses. Love watches for any sign of strength. It sees how far each one has come and not how far he has to go” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). And do not try to cover your emotions. If feedback is not given sincerely, it loses its value. The person receiving the feedback will notice.
  • Ask for feedback with a specific question, this way you can direct it.
  • Also, it is usually better to praise people in public but reprimand in private.

SBI technique (Situation-Behavior-Impact)

The SBI technique is a powerful tool to give feedback:

Example ONE, putting it all together: “Astrid, I really liked your presentation on the feedback techniques last Monday. You spoke calmly but energetically, and you asked us for our opinions on how the different feedback feels to us. This engaged me, and I saw the different effects feedback can have. Would you like to give me feedback for my participation in the presentation?”

Example TWO, putting it all together: “I was running a report on the timesheets today, and I saw you were coming late on Monday, Wednesday and today. I received different complaints today, saying that the office was not open. How can we make sure that your office is open in the morning?”

How would you feel about getting this feedback? Please keep in mind, receiving feedback can be as challenging as giving it, especially for the example TWO.

A great short video about feedback: The secret to giving great feedback | The Way We Work, a TED series

A longer description of the SBI technique: A conversation about feedback and the SBI technique

Here, you can find a great role-play: Performance and Feedback Conversation