The Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Feedback


Being able to give effective feedback is not just a good skill to possess in business, it is a great life skill to have.  Because when you are masterful at giving feedback, not only can you help your employees to sustain continuously improving performance, you can also improve the performance of the baseball team you coach, the cleaning lady at home, or the performance of your own children on completing their chores.  Any person’s performance in any activity can be positively impacted by effective feedback.  Isn’t that a powerful skill to have?

Wouldn’t you want to be a master at giving really useful and impactful feedback?

The good news is that it is not difficult to be good at giving feedback.  It does take some effort and practice. But it is definitely a skill that can be learned.  So, to get you started, here are the Do’s and Don’ts of giving feedback.

Let’s start with the Do’s:

Be Timely:  in order for feedback to be effective, you need to act quickly.  If months have gone by before you bring up an incident, the person receiving the feedback will interpret your delay to imply that it couldn’t have been that important, and the effect of the feedback is greatly diminished.

Be Specific: talk about your feedback in very direct and specific terms (“I noticed there were several calculation errors in last month’s report”).  If you are vague (“your work is unacceptable”), how can you get the message across?  Focus on the action and the results.  Be very factual in your discussion.

Be Open and Offer Suggestions: if the objective of your feedback discussion is to produce an improvement of performance, then come equipped with suggestions (again be specific) on what the person can do to affect that change. Be open to their perspective and be willing to discuss how
they see that situation.  Enroll them in coming up with a solution that they can buy into.  If you don’t get buy-in, change will not happen.

Create the right environment: feedback is best done in person, and in a private setting.  In a business setting, arrange a time and place for your discussion.  Don’t just catch people on the fly and throw a few comments their way as they are heading down the hallway and expect your comments to have any impact.

Check for understanding and buy-in: if the feedback discussion is about a performance issue, make sure you check-in on how your comments have landed with the person. Establish some sort of accountability to verify their buy-in.  For example, if you have an employee who constantly misses deadlines.  During the discussion, ask for a commitment that he will meet all deadlines for the next quarter.  Make sure that the commitment is specific,
and not something vague like: “I’ll do a better job of meeting deadlines next quarter.”

And now for the Don’ts:

Don’t Make it personal:  there is a difference between giving feedback and criticizing.  Do not make it personal.
Don’t interpret actions (showing up late) and pass judgment on the person (he is slacker and isn’t truly dedicated to
this job).  Criticism destroys relationships.  If your employee feels like he is being attacked, he is not going to be very open to hear what you have to say, he will immediately become defensive, and your job becomes much harder.  Focus the discussion on the action, not the person.  Make your employee feel that he is being supported, even if his performance is not up to standard.

Don’t Only give feedback when there’s a problem:  if you’re their leader, people need to know where they stand with you.  If you have a great employee who always exceeds your expectations, take the time to give him just as much feedback as your biggest challenge.  As a matter of fact, make it a point to give more positive feedback comments than “constructive” ones with every person.  You’ll be amazed at how much more motivated your employees will become with consistent positive reinforcement.

Don’t Address multiple issues in one discussion:  your employee will go into overload and you will lose the impact of the discussion.  If there are multiple issues, have different discussions and just concentrate on addressing them one at a time.

So there you have it, a short list of Do’s and Don’ts you can apply to whatever feedback you need to give.  Remember, most people, even your rebellious teenager, want to do a good job and to please.  They do need some clues as to how they are doing and what they need to change.  So master the art of feedback and you can really help each other.

Article Author: Inez Ng

The Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Feedback
Copyright 2005 Inez Ng

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leadership Coach Inez Ng works with professionals and entrepreneurs to produce positive results quickly.  While focusing on specific areas, her coaching positively impacts all areas of her clients’ lives.  Learn more about coaching with Inez at Need help managing your avalanche of emails?  Check out



7 Simple Tips For Building Trust


Building trust between you and your potential client is a very important step that needs to occur first or else they won’t buy from you.  In fact, building trust is a prerequisite to selling.  So how do you go about building this trust?  Following are 7 tips.

Tip #1  When having a sales conversation, explore whether you can help the person get what they want.

Forget about selling because as soon as someone feels you’re trying to sell something, they’ll instinctively not trust you.  That’s just human nature.  If, however, someone feels you are genuinely trying to help them, then they’ll be more likely to trust you and buy from you.

Tip #2   Ask questions – be sincere.

When you sincerely ask a potential client questions and you come from the perspective that you want to understand if you can help them, the more likely they are to trust you. Please note that I use the word “sincerely.” People will know if you’re just asking questions because you think you ought to.

Tip #3  Listen to people – be sincere.

When you ask someone questions, actively and sincerely (there’s that word again) listen to their answers.  Put yourself in their shoes and listen from their perspective.  Be fully present and release all judgement.  The more you sincerely listen to someone the more they will trust you.

Tip #4  Watch what you’re thinking.
You may not realize it, but when you’re talking to a potential client, they will pick up on what you’re thinking and feeling.  There is no hiding this!  Therefore, before you have a sales conversation get in the appropriate thinking mode so you’re feeling and thinking thoughts that will result in the person trusting you.

Tip #5  Do what it takes to build up your confidence.

If you don’t feel confident about having a sales conversation, people will sense it.  If you’re not confident, chances are the person you’re talking to will not feel confident about you.  This will impact the level of trust.  Identify ways you can increase your confidence in having a sales conversation.  What courses can you take, what books can you read and so on? 

Tip #6  ‘Be’ Your Word.

In your conversations with people, ensure that what you say you will do and what you do are in 100% alignment.  If you’re not in alignment you won’t go far. ‘Be’ your word and people (including yourself) will trust you.

Tips #1 through #6 are essential but if you really want to accelerate the process of building trust read Tip #7.

Tip #7   Get yourself known as the expert  in your niche/target market.

People trust experts.  People believe (rightly or wrongly) that you wouldn’t have reached “expert” status unless you know what you’re doing. If you’re serious about building your business and building trust, get yourself known.

Implement these 7 simple tips and you’ll be amazed at the increase in trust you’ll generate.  I assure you this will result in more business for you. 

(c) Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2006. You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end).

Tessa Stowe teaches coaches, service professionals and recovering salespeople 10 simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at

Article Author: Tessa Stowe

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About the Author:

 Tessa Stowe works with self employed professionals who are struggling to sell their Services. To learn more about this and to sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at NOTE: You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to


Linking Generational Strengths in the Workplace with DISC Behavioural Styles


Using the basis of the DISC behavioural styles, it can be a very interesting process to examine how DISC plays out in the realm of a multi-generational team. Let’s have a look at each of the generations from this perspective:

  • Builders are similar to “S” and “C” styles, typically more introvert by nature. They tend to focus on laying one brick at a time and lay each brick perfectly well (all in good time) before moving on to the next brick. Their DISC strengths can be summarized as: cooperative, respectful, orderly, generous, loyal, team player and sincere.
  • Boomers tend to often be a combination of the “D” and “C” styles, with a high focus around hard work and sticking to the rules. Their DISC strengths can be summarized as: Results-driven, assertive, disciplined, task driven, persistent, logical, accountable, analytical and factual.
  • Gen X’s generally lean towards the “C” style as they strive towards working efficiently and smarter. Their DISC strengths can be summarized as: Cooperative, logical, objective, analytical and diplomatic.
  • Gen Y’s frequently come across as “I” style with some “D” where are aspire to be enterprising while having fun along the way. Their DISC strengths can be summarized as: Optimistic, fun, sociable, popular, innovative, goal focused and energetic.

The interesting part comes when we start to look at the dynamic between the generational styles.

Let’s examine the scenario whereby there is a boomer managing a Gen Y. A typical conflict that sometimes arises here is when the boomer manager is expecting a very hard work ethic and the Gen Y is constantly looking for ways to make their job interesting and fun.  The boomer can get frustrated as they expect hard work and results with certain disciplinary behaviour which tends to be rule-bound. Whilst in one respect this seems perfectly justified from the boomer, the Gen Y feels constrained and this is when things can start to get out of hand.

One approach that considers both perspectives could be: “How can we achieve the results in a fun way?” Ultimately, the boomer manager is looking for results, so they may be best to support the Gen Y worker by linking their natural talents and strengths to an improved business outcome.

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