How to Give and Receive Feedback

When and Where to Give Feedback

  • Is it your place to give feedback? Is there someone more appropriate who should give the feedback (Supervisor or Program Coordinator)?

  • Timing (when all parties are calm and open to participating in active listening)
  • Setting (when it is just the two of you)
  • Tone of the message (calm delivery)

Giving Feedback

  • Communicate clearly. Make sure the message is clear and relevant.

  • Be specific. Positive feedback should be specific and realistic. If you praise someone heavily for doing the minimum, (he/she) won’t be motivated to do more. If you overdo the positive feedback, you appear insincere and your message is worthless. Remark on specific opportunities for improvement.

  • Avoid using the word “but.” This word negates everything said before it.
  • Consider the receiver.
  • Allow the person time to respond.
  • Don’t take it personally if your feedback does not result in immediate change.

Giving Constructive Criticism

  • Again, focus on valid and unbiased feedback (facts) and avoid pointing out personal character traits.

  • Make your message clear and relevant.

Receiving Feedback

  • Don’t be defensive. Be open and receptive to what is being said—practice active listening.
  • Take the feedback with a grain of salt. Feedback is a reflection of someone else’s opinion—you might learn something.
  • Ask questions to clarify.
  • Summarize and reflect what you heard.

Adapted from NPS Academy Program Guide

Last updated: November 15, 2016

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