Do you love getting critical feedback? Yeah, me neither. I tend to take it personally, especially when I'm taking a risk or trying something new. But making mistakes and being coached through them is fundamental to improving your skills.
One way that I prefer to give (and receive!) feedback is with a "compliment sandwich." Here's how it works:
- Start positive. Identify 1-2 positive aspects related to the work, which could include outcomes ("This piece seems to be working well") or effort ("I've been really impressed by how you're approaching this"). Starting with positive feedback serves to reinforce aspects of the work that are effective and well done. It also creates a space where people feel more open to listen to critical feedback.
- Identify problem spots. Once you've shown it's not all bad, deliver your critical feedback. Be specific with examples of what's not working (specifics are very important!).
- End positive. End with another positive statement that re-iterates what's going well. This doesn't just end the meeting on a feel good note--reinforcing the positive feedback also gives the person direction. When we understand what parts of our work are meeting expectations, we're better able to see how we can make other aspects improve, too.
The result will be a stronger work product without diminishing their self-confidence. Have a good way to offer constructive criticism? Share in the comments on our blog!
Laura Bartolomei-Hill is Trainings Manager at NOI.