How to give good feedback

Yes, You Can Provide Feedback in a “Nice” Organization

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Building candour and feedback into any culture is challenging, but it can be particularly difficult in “nice” organisations, where behaviour is expected to be poised, respectful, and professional at all times.

In general these are positive qualities, but learning a new skill (like giving feedback) is inherently messy.

We learn by trying, getting it wrong, understanding our errors, and then trying again.

Start with yourself: Show your team that you are making a serious effort to improve, and actively request feedback from your peers. Really listen to what you hear. And make sure to identify when feedback would not be helpful.

Remember the acronym HALT—don’t give feedback if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Since candour and feedback involve other people, you’ll likely encounter misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or other conflict. Don’t expect feedback to always feel natural or easy.

A little discomfort and a few mistakes means you’re on the right path.

Adapted from “How to Give Negative Feedback When Your Organization Is ‘Nice,’” by Jennifer Porter

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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