How to give feedback effectively

A great feedback-giving leader evaluates the individual

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March 06, 2015 |
Steven Burns
How to give feedback effectively

If initial feedback doesn’t resonate, effective leaders also know how to turn up the pressure in a way that is progressive, but not too sharp.

The difference between a good leader and a world-class leader is the quality of feedback that he or she gives. That’s because effective feedback leads to behavior change as well as earning respect for the leader, says Luc Levesque, a vice president at TripAdvisor, in a FastCompany post.    

So how do leaders learn how to deliver behavior-changing feedback?

“It all starts with finding the right pressure to apply,” Levesque writes. “And since each employee and each scenario is different, how you give feedback is about customization.”

A great feedback-giving leader evaluates the individual, getting to know them and understand their habits, behaviors, motivations, and triggers.

“They also understand the context of the scenario,” he writes. “They know what work, trend, or issue needs to be addressed. If you come to each feedback conversation armed with these understandings, you’re going to be able to start tailoring your feedback.”

If initial feedback doesn’t resonate, effective leaders also know how to turn up the pressure in a way that is progressive, but not too sharp. “The goal is to send the message home in one shot, but sometimes you need to nudge a little harder until it's there,” Levesque continues.

Ultimately, a leader that can give the right feedback in the right context will change behaviors. “They will achieve that results-producing mix of being liked (because they contextually appreciate their employees) and respected (because they apply the right amount of customized pressure),” he writes.

Though Levesque acknowledges that learning how to give feedback isn’t easy, he advises leaders to recall the concepts of customization and context and continue to remind themselves that giving quality feedback is about changing behaviors.

Read more from FastCompany.com.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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