More about feedback. We’ve established that feedback is not only important but that it’s critical for individual and organizational success. Giving feedback and being heard is not easy,  but if your relationship includes trust, the feedback process becomes less stressful and more meaningful.

Author, trainer, and key note speaker Shari Harley created The Feedback Formula which includes the following 8 steps:

1. Introduce the conversation so feedback recipients know what to expect.
2. Empathize so both the feedback provider and the recipient feel as comfortable as possible.
3. Describe the observed behavior so the recipient can picture a specific, recent example of what you’re referring to. The more specific you are, the less defensive he will be, and the more likely he’ll be to hear you and take corrective action.
4. Sharing the impact or result describes the consequences of the behavior. It’s what happened as a result of the person’s actions.
5. Having some dialogue gives both people a chance to speak and ensures that the conversation is not one-sided. Many feedback conversations are not conversations at all; they’re monologues. One person talks and the other person pretends to listen, while thinking what an idiot you are. Good feedback conversations are dialogues during which the recipient can ask questions, share his point of view, and explore next steps.
6. Make a suggestion or request so the recipient has another way to approach the situation or task in the future. Most feedback conversations tell the person what he did wrong and the impact of the behavior; only rarely do they offer an alternative. Give people the benefit of the doubt. If people knew a better way to do something, they would do it another way.
7. Building an agreement on next steps ensures there is a plan for what the person will do going forward. Too many feedback conversations do not result in behavior change. Agreeing on next steps creates accountability.
8. Say “Thank you” to create closure and to express appreciation for the recipient’s willingness to have a difficult conversation.

Do these steps help? Does it make sense that a trusting relationship creates a “safe” relationship allowing feedback to be welcomed?

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.
—Bill Gates

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