Giving feedback: Gift or poisoned chalice?

To give, or not to give? #SRIFutureReadyTalent

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Feedback is a key component of developing any future-ready Talent Strategy as it plays a central role in related projects including Succession Planning, Future Leader assessment, Role Consultation, Career Pathways, Team Effectiveness etc. It’s the part of the project where all the intelligence gathering, theoretical analysing, action planning becomes very real when meaningful information, which has a real impact on the future, is transmitted and received!

Whether it is given to an individual, a team, or an organisation, feedback should be seen as a gift and therefore the right time and effort should be spent on getting it just right! Done well and the impact will be immeasurable, done poorly and it can become a poisoned chalice.

How do you ensure feedback has a positive impact on engagement, development, and business intelligence as opposed to having no impact or worse, destroying engagement, hampering creativity, and hindering proactivity? There’s a tricky tightrope to walk here.

Let’s look at it from an individual’s perspective – regardless of why an organisation is assessing someone, the individual’s perception of that ‘gift’ is crucial. If it engages their curiosity and encourages them to develop, that’s great. If it’s viewed as an opportunity to find out what’s wrong, or what they aren’t capable of, then it won’t produce positive results.

👉 Read article: Forget the seven deadly sins – these are the seven ‘wins’ around great feedback…

The natural feedback loop looks something like this:

  • Clearly communicate the reason for the process, be transparent and explain the benefits to the individual – seems obvious, but it is often overlooked or overlooked completely. It is critical to encourage buy-in and commitment from the beginning.
  • Clearly explaining the process, timeline and action plan.
  • Ensure the assessment methodology is in line with the objectives/the reason for doing the assessment in the first place
  • The delivery of the assessment results is fundamental. This should be done thoroughly, sensitively and shortly after the assessment is carried out, at a time and pace comfortable for the recipient.
  • Provide space for the individual to consider, challenge, ask questions

The responsibility to ensure feedback is a gift, not a poison chalice lies with both parties. When you do the above, you dramatically increase the chance that the assessment process will add value to the individual and the organisation.

The recipient of the feedback needs to be prepared to think, acknowledge, challenge and be curious. Preparation is crucial … getting into a positive frame of mind and thinking about action is beneficial. Visualizing a personal future aligned with personal ambition, then thinking of how feedback can contribute to that journey is powerful.

Even with the best-laid plans, we are dealing with sensitive and personal human emotions, personalities, and insecurities – it’s not just about the process, it’s about connection and personal engagement. Therefore, we have to return to unconditional positive regard. If both parties enter into a process that generates feedback with this front and center, the whole process stands a much better chance of success in the future.

Thanks for reading, if you want to learn more on #SRIFutureReadyTalent, check out the seven ‘wins’ of great feedback, alternatively find out how the language used in job descriptions can effect the candidate pool.

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