Over the years, I have heard several different adjectives used to describe both sides of the feedback coin. For example, positive versus negative or positive versus constructive. For the purpose of this article, I am going to make two assumptions that determine the words used to describe feedback. First, the feedback is provided from a genuine place of caring. Second, the feedback is intended to help the receiver develop and grow. If these assumptions are correct, then all feedback is both positive and constructive. The key is whether or not the feedback is being provided in order to reinforce or redirect.
Reinforcing feedback is provided when an individual is meeting or exceeding expected performance levels, engaging in desired behaviors, or making needed improvements in performance or behavior. Whether offering feedback as a colleague, leader or employee, we should communicate our satisfaction or appreciation for what the individual has done in very specific terms. The more specific, the more likely the performance or behavior will be repeated. This frequently leads to a strength becoming stronger, which develops into a valuable asset for the individual and the organization.
Redirecting feedback is provided when an individual isn’t meeting expectations with regards to results, activity, effort or behavior. As with reinforcing feedback, redirecting feedback needs to be very specific. It should include a clear description of the expected results, activity, effort or behavior as contrasted with what is currently being observed. Acceptance of the feedback and effective implementation of the needed changes frequently requires the recipient to believe that it is coming from a place of caring and commitment to them and their growth, along with a joint diagnosis of the root cause behind the gap, whether in results, activity, effort or behavior.
When redirecting feedback is delivered with caring and implementation is engaged as a partnership, the recipient is empowered to transition from buying into it to owning it.
Whether feedback is reinforcing or redirecting, it is critical that it is sought, provided and received if we are to continue our development as people and professionals. Timely, effective feedback is at the center of our growth-oriented culture at England Logistics. What are some best practices you have experienced when giving or receiving feedback?
As a Talent Management/HR executive with over 20 years of talent and human resource management experience, I strive to deliver value generating services to internal and external clients. This has provided me with the ability to lead or influence people in developing solutions to achieve higher levels of measurable success. My professional interests are targeted toward helping clients achieve their optimum performance through people solutions.