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Two Smart Hacks for Providing Feedback

By Jodie Hollowood

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​Providing feedback can be an introvert’s nightmare, and delicate task that many managers would ideally like to avoid. Some managers are fearful of how the feedback will be received by the employee, while others are uncertain of how to provide feedback that is constructive.

What if there was a simple way to make the feedback process easier and more beneficial for all involved? Well, all you need to do is “THINK SMART”, and use these two simple acronyms.

The “THINK” acronym has been around for a long time, and it’s particularly useful in a feedback situation. It prompts you to “think” about the effectiveness of your feedback before passing it on. Ask yourself the following:

T = Is the feedback true?

H = Is the feedback helpful?

I = Is the feedback inspiring?

N = Is the feedback necessary?

K = Is the feedback kind?

Using the “THINK” method will help you to shape your feedback based on the key points above. It also serves as a reminder that personal opinions and feedback can be two separate things – and some personal opinions are best kept to yourself. This method helps you separate the two, and bring out only the best, most constructive feedback.

You may recognise the “SMART” acronym from an occasion where you needed to set measurable goals. This method can also be applied to help you provide smart feedback using the advice below:

S = Specific.  Ensure your feedback is specific. Vague feedback that doesn’t address a particular event, action, or otherwise, may not be easily understood. Make the subject you want to address as clear as possible, for example: “I would like to discuss a concern with you regarding our team meeting this morning. When Alex suggested his idea for the new project, you responded by saying that it was a terrible idea.”

M = Measurable.  Mention the effect of their actions in the situation: “After your response to Alex, he felt embarrassed and stopped contributing to the remainder of the meeting”.

A = Achievable / Actionable.  Address the action or change that you wish to see from providing this feedback. You can do this by asking what the person could have done differently: “What other ways could you have responded to Alex to avoid him feeling that way?”

R = Relevant.  Construct a lesson and opportunity to grow from the situation: “We welcome everyone to share their ideas, and we want to make sure everyone feels like their opinions are valued. In our next meeting, I’d like you to show support and positivity towards your peers’ ideas.

T = Timely.  Make sure that you provide feedback in a timely fashion following an incident. The sooner you provide feedback, the fresher it will be in both of your minds. Avoid procrastinating and it will make it easier for all involved to move forward in a positive direction.

So, next time you are required to provide feedback, ensure you remember to think smart.