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Your career


Ensure you have a good rapport - be mindful of your body language - and remember that your words only convey as little as 10% of the meaning of the communication

Make it regular - feedback isn't just about appraisals and customer complaints, use it as a tool for ongoing natural development

Be specific, emphasise outcomes and watch your language, get clear about what you say so that the receiver understands precisely what you are saying and invite their comment.

Avoid qualifying words such as 'quite', 'almost'

Be constructive and remember the function of feedback - to acknowledge, support and develop, not to criticise

Pay attention to the results of feedback by seeing, hearing and feeling the result of feedback given

Separate out a person's identity from their behaviour. Feedback should be about actions, about what you do or need to do differently, not about who you are

Tailor feedback to the needs of the recipient, recognising that some people need lots of feedback, others little, some need public acknowledgement, others more private

Speak to the person directly, not about them

Find your own role models - hang around with people who are good at giving feedback and learn from them


Genuinely accept all feedback as useful, even if it is malevolently intended.

Listen for the detail so that you really do know what the other person is talking about

Don't take it personally - you will encounter incompetently delivered feedback at some stage

If you find yourself under attack, focus on getting the most from the situation and ask yourself: 'How can I make this work for me so that I never have to hear this sort of attack from anyone ever again?'

Learn from your experience and ask yourself: 'What can I learn about the way this feedback was delivered to me to make sure I never do this to anyone else?'

lf you are unclear about specifics, ask questions of clarification, particularly those beginning with 'what'

Proper well-intentioned feedback with a two-way exchange of information is one of the vehicles for supporting and helping colleagues to prosper. Handled well it can boost performance, forestall future problems and inspire greater effort. It is a critical tool for all managers, particularly those responsible for developing their most important asset - their people.

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