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How to give Emotional Intelligent feedback

Are you giving emotionally intelligent feedback at work?

Lately I have been working on a few team development projects where feedback or rather the “lack of it” was the top item of the list of things to be improved.

When asked, many companies and organizations are still using the evaluative (360) end of the year feedback as the standard. On the contrary in a few high profile companies (like Netflix for example) leadership decided to get rid of the annual end of the year feedback to give more space to a regular real time job feedback.

Another surprising fact for me was to find out that many creative (team) leaders and managers still feeding the “sandwich” to their employees. If you ever been served with one, I think you know how it leaves a “rotten” taste in your mouth.

Time to throw it away!

There are less issues with giving nice and positive feedback and reassuring your team members if they are doing something great on a regular basis. It lifts up the team spirit and gives a huge motivational boost. On the other hand, giving and receiving negative feedback on regular basis can be difficult – however I still think there is something far worse than that: not giving and receiving any feedback at all. With no feedback you basically close down possibilities for evolution and improvement.



Here are a few keys to give and receive feedback in an emotionally intelligent way:
    1. Prepare. As they say “start with the (wo)man in the mirror”. Check on your emotional state and emotional self awareness before giving and/or receiving constructive feedback. Are you able to see the situation in an objective way? Are you giving this feedback with a positive intent and from a place of fairness and compassion? Are your employees aware that you truly value them? Is this the right time for you to give this feedback? Make sure that your empathy and assertiveness is in balance when giving the feedback.
    2. Specify. Don’t send mixed messages – separate positive feedback from negative (constructive) feedback and be really clear about it. Give real life examples and explain how specifically do you mean when you say they have done “good job” or a “not so good job”. Are they clear on what is working and what is not?
    3. Observe. Observe in non judgement. Just simply observe the situation and truly focus on what is being said and notice any emotional shifts you are going through whilst giving and receiving feedback. Notice any emotional shifts on the other person: what is the possible impact of your feedback? Adjust your empathy or assertiveness accordingly.
    4. Listen. Listen with an open mind. Do some deep listening and really listen to understand not to reply.
    5. Reassure. Make sure that what you said or heard is being understood exactly the way you meant it. Do some reality checking. Ask the question: can you please repeat it what you just heard me saying?
    6. Take action. Get things into motion and make an action plan on the areas of development so the feedback has some short, mid and long term impact on performance.
    7. Repeat (Give feedback again). Make sure you do it on a regular basis so there is space created for improvements and it becomes a part of your team culture without enforcement.

How do you give feedback at your workplace? Would love to hear your thoughts and please share this if you like it.