Taking feedback is an important skill, but giving feedback is too. And most of us are terrible at it.
People value those who give great feedback. They're like great coaches: you might not like everything they say, but you do like seeing yourself improve and win.
Here are some rules for giving great feedback.
Give feedback as soon as possible. It loses relevance when you wait.
Follow Warren Buffett’s rule: “Praise in public, criticize in private.”
Ask first: “Can I give you some feedback?”
Structure feedback as Kim Scott suggests in Radical Candor: situation, behaviour, impact.
“During the meeting yesterday, you cut off Mark several times, and that makes the team less likely to offer their thoughts. We need everyone’s input to make the best decision.”
Make sure to comment on the behaviour, and not the person’s character. Poor behaviour can come from good people.
Be as specific as possible. Generic feedback is useless.
It may be tempting to sandwich feedback within praise. Don’t. This is transparent, and people will appreciate it when you don’t try and cover things up.
Aim for a balance of praise and feedback. They can happen at separate times, or at the same time, but they should be direct and specific.
“Your opening slide was great! What a powerful way to start. I loved the anecdote in the middle too, I thought it told a powerful story. What could have gone better was the second slide before the end. I felt it was a bit muddled, and prevented you from ending on a high note.”
Give great feedback, and you'll build a following of loyal, high-performing people.