How do you give effective feedback in the workplace? We must admit it — giving and receiving feedback is not something most of us look forward to doing.
In fact, we often know we should give feedback but are uncertain on how to deliver the message. Effective feedback is an important and efficient way to let people know the impact of their behavior so they are able to make informed choices regarding future actions.
CCL has developed a feedback technique called Situation-Behavior-Impact, or SBI, to help you give feedback in a way that works. Using SBI you can avoid common mistakes people make when giving feedback to peers, direct reports, volunteers, a boss or board members, such as:
• Judging individuals, not actions.
• Being too vague.
• Giving unwanted advice.
• Sandwiching negative feedback between positive messages.
SBI is simple and direct: you capture and clarify the situation, describe the specific behaviors and explain the impact that the person’s behavior had on you. It is used for giving both positive and negative feedback.
“Matt, during Tuesday’s board meeting, you called for a vote on the budget item Terry suggested without seeking my input first. I felt dismissed and wondered if the board really understood the implications of that new expense.”
“April, over the past month you have been putting in extra volunteer hours to meet this upcoming deadline. I really appreciate the time and effort you’re putting into the organization.”
As you become more familiar with the approach and more comfortable with the delivery, your feedback skills will become more and more effective. The people you work with will benefit from the effort you put toward helping them develop. You, in turn, will benefit from developing a useful skill that not only helps to raise the effectiveness of the people around you but also bolsters your leadership skills.
Shera is the author of the guidebook, Feedback that Works for Nonprofit Organizations.