Constructive Feedback

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Feedback is a skill that has to be improved upon and includes often very useful information. In order to gain from this information people need to develop the capacities to give and receive feedback. This checklist helps you to implement constructive feedback either in front of your participants or in your team.

[edit] How to do it

Feedback is not simply another word for criticism. It is a constructive tool that reflects all of the following aspects:

  1. Appreciation: What I liked...
  2. Criticism: What I didn’t like...
  3. Inspiration: What I might propose...

[edit] Giving feedback

  • Your feedback should be relevant and useful for the other person
  • Represent yourself – Use 'I' statements, do not use 'we' or 'one'
  • Separate feelings from observations
  • Describe, do not interprete
  • Show respect to the whole person
  • Keep in mind the position from which you give and receive feedback

[edit] Receiving feedback

  • If you have – ask a specific question
  • Do not discuss or comment anything
  • Decide silently which aspects you accept
  • If you like to – thank

[edit] Background

Feedback is a method that is often not naturally used in our everyday life. Here relations and hierarchy, different associations, other interpretations make our communication often difficult. Feedback was developed to improve the quality of interpersonal communication, in terms of relevance (giving relevant information) as well of moral quality (showing interpersonal respect). What may first be developed as a capacity in a 'protected' framework such like a non-formal training or a group of like-minded, may further as well be applied in other environments - everybody likes to receive not only criticism but as well appreciation. The humanist roots for this affection towards others can be found at Carl Rogers, in "Theme Centered Interaction" (Ruth Cohn) or Non-violent Communication (Marshall B. Rosenberg)

Principle Respectful feedback Devaluating feedback
Send an I-message. "I did not catch this point" "Your presentation was not understandable."
Describe, do not interprete. "Your hands and your voice flattered during the presentation." "You were agitated and nervous again."
Communicate authentic but selective. "I am frustrated. I feel the responsibility of the tasks - and the coordination does not work. Well, sometimes it works." "Our teamwork is a catastrophy."
Showing respect to the whole person. "When you are excited your voice starts to scream. That makes me easily nervous." "You have an annoying voice when you are excited."

[edit] Literatur

  • Ruth C. Cohn: Von der Psychoanalyse zur themenzentrierten Interaktion. Von der Behandlung einzelner zu einer Pädagogik für alle. Stuttgart 1975.
  • Marshall B. Rosenberg: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Encinitas 2003.
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