This post is part 2 of 3 in the series Feedback: Asking, giving, receiving.

If I have requested feedback

Ask me if this is a good time to give some feedback or set a time to talk.

Provide specific behaviors — what was said or done using recent examples or immediate relevance

Give examples of when I am at my best and examples when improvement would be helpful

Describe your own feelings as a consequence of my behavior

Reveal your underlying assumptions

Check for my understanding by asking me, “What did you hear me say?”

When I have been asked to give feedback

Ask if this is a good time to give some feedback or set a time to talk.

Provide specific behaviors — what was said or done using recent examples or immediate relevance; keep to feedback about the subject requested.

Give examples of when they are at their best and examples when improvement would be helpful

Use “I” statements — “When I experience this… I interpret the behavior as …” or “I noticed that…” or “I understand that…”

Describe my own feelings as a consequence of my behavior

Reveal my underlying assumptions

Check for their understanding by asking, “What did you hear me say?”

If the other person has not requested feedback, start with this reflection work:

  1. What are my assump­tions about the behavior?
  2. How am I trying to make the other person wrong?
  3. Consid­ering the other person has the best inten­tions, what different assump­tions could I make about the behavior?
  4. How is this behavior similar to some­thing in my past? Describe in detail.
  5. What stress am I under at the moment, and how is that related to my inter­pre­tation of the behavior or my reaction?
  6. How am I contributing to the behavior?
  7. What do I really want for the relationship?
  8. What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?

If I decide to proceed, ask if the receiver wants feedback and when would be a good time.

A courageous conversation is when the speaker believes she/he will be saying things that the listener is not expecting to hear. The speaker acknowledges these things:

  • I’m speaking with the understanding that I don’t have the whole picture of the situation, but I’m checking some assumptions.
  • I’m acknowledging that I may be contributing to the problem.
  • I believe that everyone participating is trying to act with integrity.
  • I’m asking you to temporarily withhold judgment — that means stopping the voice inside your head that is trying to formulate a response, and listen to what is being said.
  • I will say why and give examples. If I don’t, please stop me.
  • Through the conversations I will ask how you see it differently, and ask you to explain your reasoning. If I don’t, please stop me.

Can we have a courageous conversation together today?

Quick feedback

“Let me share my data” (facts, behavior I observed)
“Let me tell you my thinking” (how I interpret your behavior)
“What do we agree on?”
“Would you be willing to continue the conversation?”
— from Susie King