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Consulting Essentials - Giving and receiving feedback

Posted by Clive on September 13, 2017

This “Consulting Essential” is about giving and receiving feedback, another core consulting capability.
In the Consulting Essential about time management, I talked about how busy we all are on projects and emphasised the importance of implementing time management strategies. In such an environment it’s all too easy to avoid finding the time to run one on one feedback sessions within your project team. But it is crucial to make the time to do this; if done effectively it will help establish stronger relationships within the team and will any highlight issues early.

I’m sure you all have had some exposure to giving and receiving feedback. Here are some of my top tips to ensure it’s as effective as possible:

  • Ask the project team for their experiences of one to one feedback meetings either in their current company or previously;
    • Capture, “what has worked well?”, and “what could have been improved?”
    • Build these learnings into your team’s one to one process
  • Always hold one to ones in an environment that is free from all distractions;
  • Work out a schedule of one to ones and get them in the calendar;
  • Focus on something specific in each session;
  • Make sure both parties prepare in advance by thinking through what they did well and what they could have done better;
  • In the one to one itself, allow the person who will be receiving the feedback to provide a view on their own performance first….starting with the things that went well. Then the person giving the feedback should either reinforce or add to what the other has said;
  • Make the feedback specific and use examples of what you saw or heard;
  • Use appropriate language when providing feedback on areas for improvement e.g. “what you could try is….” or, “what often works well is….”
  • Don’t interrupt each other. 

Most of all just do it! And review the process with the team, take their comments and improve wherever possible.


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