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