Wednesday, May 6, 2009



GIVING FEED BACK by Dr. Peter Honey

Giving Feedback is absolutely essential for learning and development and yet in the majority of workplaces people do not get enough. People at work have three basic rights which can only be met by receiving ongoing feedback.

  • To know what is expected of them
  • To know how they are doing
  • To know what they need to do to improve/become even better
Interestingly, most people for most of the time are lucky if one or two of these rights are met, let alone all three.
You may be amongst the many managers who are reluctant to give feedback, but if you withhold it you are failing in one of the most fundamental duties of any manager, It is impossible to provide for the three basic rights without giving feedback. People who are deprived of feedback from their manager compensate in two potentially dangerous ways.
Firstly, they start to rely exclusively on scraps of feedback from the other people, colleagues, friends, customers, anyone who will offer it. This in itself is no bad thing except that feedback from these sources may be at variance with your own perceptions. In the absence of your feedback, subordinates will understandably become dependent on what you might regard as spurious data.
Secondly, and even worse, people deprived of feedback fill the void by giving themselves feedback and assuming, in the absence of any contrary indicators, that all is well. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it becomes to grasp the nettle and, when you do, the more traumatic the discovery that your perceptions differ from theirs.
So, the provision of feedback is a non-negotiable, bottom-line requirement if you are to help your people to learn and develop. Always remember, however, that the receiver of the feedback has the right to decide whether or not to act on it.
Having listened and understood, the receiver is always the final arbiter in deciding what to accept and what to reject. The choice is theirs. If you withhold feedback you have deprived them of the right to decide and therefore of one of the most powerful learning opportunities of all.

David Anderson
Okanagan Training Solutions / Priority Management Interior BC
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096

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