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What Is Effective Feedback?

What Is Effective Feedback?

As a manager, you probably spend a good deal of time reviewing and measuring all kinds of information to understand the factors that affect your business. What is my division’s revenue versus expenses for the quarter and what is driving expenses up? What percentage of our quota has my division achieved year to date and what is left in the pipeline? What is our current production level and how can we increase capacity in the short term? Determining specific quantifiable numbers and developing clear action plans to reach those numbers are integral components of a manager’s job. Yet oftentimes the same managers who develop specific what if scenarios and examine business data with the intense rigor of a scientist use no such specifics or data when evaluating the company’s most important capital: employee performance. Effective feedback requires that you use the same attention to detail that you employ when analyzing business information.

Creating and delivering a specific message based on observed performance is key to effective feedback. You may have told a fellow manager, a co-worker, or even your boss that he is a good leader, or that she communicates well, or that he needs to be more strategic. You may believe that such statements are helpful examples of feedback. But these statements only evaluate or interpret, they don’t describe specific behavior so that a person can learn and develop by repeating or avoiding that behavior.


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