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How to give and receive feedback ...
How to give and receive feedback

Feedback is usually associated with criticism, according to human resources consultant Elsa Critchley.

But it should be a regular process, including praise and encouragement.

'Most organisations will set aside formal time once every six months,' she says. 'But managers should have constant feedback from their staff.'

Ms Critchley's top tips on giving feedback are:

-- Consider what you are trying to achieve by giving feedback before you launch in. Do you want to criticise, raise awareness, or offer a development opportunity?

-- How it is received will depend upon the culture of your organisation. If your workplace is not particularly open about such things, you may need to ask the person's permission beforehand - particularly if you are a colleague rather than their manager.

-- Using self-assessment is a good way of getting people to open up. People are usually more comfortable about being critical of themselves than they are with others being critical about them.

-- Make sure you are aware of all the facts before you give feedback.

-- Show honesty and integrity. People will respect you - even if you are giving negative feedback - if they believe you are being genuine.

And on receiving feedback:

-- Make sure you listen to what is being said. There is a tendency for many to close off when they feel they are being criticised.

-- If the message is that you need to improve, ask questions for more specific advice on how to do this.

-- If the message is one of praise, ask for examples of how you can build on what you have done well.

Ms Critchley recommends that if you are giving negative feedback you should focus on a person's behaviour rather than their personality - even if you think their personality is causing the problem.

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