Good Feedback Helps – Criticism Not So Much

How do you tell someone they need to improve? Effective feedback is as much art as science, but it’s an important skill to cultivate within a brokerage.

NEW YORK – When handled appropriately, feedback is useful. I can tell individuals how they can improve and keep them on track. As a tool, feedback can be used for team members, employees, service providers or even clients.

Author Daniel Goleman references the work of Harry Levinson, a psychoanalyst and corporate consultant, in his book, Emotional Intelligence. According to Goleman, it’s important to select a specific incident to pinpoint a problem or trend that needs changing, even if there’s more than one incident.

The evaluator should highlight what the person did well, what they did poorly, and explain how to correct the problem.

Effective feedback is best done face-to-face and in private, because that allows the person receiving the criticism to give a response or clarification. Those who give the criticism need to show empathy, noting the impact of their words and how they say it.

It’s also essential to defuse emotional responses. Supervisors need to stay focused and have a composed discussion.

It’s also important to give feedback promptly once a problem arises – and never assume that something is a one-time incident and there’s no need to react this time. A delayed response essentially grants that person permission to continue the behavior. That, in turn, makes it more difficult to offer feedback and rectify the situation.

While offering a targeted and specific assessment, supervisors should not make the issue personal. It’s about the problem, not the individual.

If an issue reappears, supervisors can advise counseling rather than denigrate the person directly. Feedback’s aim is to enable a person to reach the next level of performance and ensure a healthy personal relationship and organization. If implemented badly, it can lead to broken relationships and other detrimental effects.

Source: Inman (07/27/23) Medford, Carl

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