5 steps for Effective Performance Feedback

FEEDBACK – a simple concept and one that can instantly and simultaneously strike fear and anxiety into the hearts of the person receiving it and giving it. Learning to give effective performance feedback will promote and sustain improved performance and boost morale. It is also a skill that will elevate you to leader status regardless of your potion on the company’s org chart.

Leadership is in the eye of the beholder and being able to provide effective performance feedback is a key skill that will get you noticed when you practice it with your boss, colleagues, staff and clients.

Understanding how powerful giving effective performance feedback can we’ll turn our attention to the 5 steps you need to know to be able to make feedback your new secret weapon.

5 Keys to Effective Performance Feedback

  1. Identify the person to whom you will give the feedback While you should know the name of the person you’ll be giving feedback to you also need to determine how situationally confident they are.
Confidence Level
Low High

·        Effort

·        Persistence

·        Progress

·        Small accomplishments

·        Asking for help


·        Outcomes

·        Results

·        Impact

·        More Challenging accomplishments

·        Helping others

  1. Type of feedback – Positive or Corrective To be most impactful each instance of feedback needs to be addressing either positive performance feedback or corrective feedback. Sandwiching them together will dilute the messages you are trying to get across and this be a failed opportunity to help the receiving party feel good about their accomplishments/ability or help them improve.
  1. Timing – Immediate or Not There is different wisdom around when to provide positive and corrective feedback. The more specific and immediate you can be with positive praise the more useful it will be. Corrective feedback can be overshadowed by strong emotions and situational circumstances. If there is a behavior or issues causing a dangerous conditions. Otherwise it is best to provide corrective feedback to encourage behavior change at the next most likely instance of the behavior happening. Waiting to just prior means the person gets feedback and a timely reminder. For example – if an employee is continuously late coming back from lunch you would speak with them before they leave for lunch instead of when they are coming back late again.
  1. Finding the Words – Scripting Why don’t more people give effective feedback? Because most often we are afraid of saying the wrong thing, not making the right point or carrying on too long. Good feedback is often planned in advance which the DSEECS script allows you to do. Everyone is motivated by something different and this script is designed to touch of each of the 4 motivating factors (power, affiliation, achievement and security). Don’t let the word script spook you, this should only be a minute or two. You can’t go wrong!

The 5 parts of giving effective feedback are:

  • Describe the situation – a short intro and reminder of the situation
  • Specify – be very specific about the behavior or practice you’d like to reinforce
  • Express – how the person’s performance made you feel?
  • Explain – explain the impact the person’s performance had on others/the organization
  • Choose – present a contingency or consequence
  • Specify Again – first things last, specify the behavior/practice again

Have a plan – Grab a piece of paper draw a line down the middle. On the left side list 4-6 behaviors/practices you are looking for from others and number them. On the right side list 4-6 different ways to rewards for displaying the behaviors and practices you are looking for, number them also. One of these should be feedback based on the script. If you have the budget and authority to handout gift cards or pay for lunch those are nice too but the reinforcing reward do not have to be monetary. Think about highlighting the person in a team meeting, presenting them with a certificate, a coffee from the cafeteria, handshake/pat on the back with a “thank you for your hard work”, etc. Keep the list in your desk drawer and everyday roll a die to determine which behavior you’ll look for that day. Roll it again to determine which reward they will receive from you to reinforce they are doing the right things. A good ratio to keep in mind is 3 praising instances of feedback to every 1 corrective instance of feedback. Like most things these days we have an app for this.

Change is hard and awkward and you’ll feel it the first several times you use the script but I promise you’ll find your rhythm with it. The script is not meant to make you sound scripted so the um’s and pauses that come out when your giving the feedback will not be frowned upon but rather make it feel more genuine.

I trust you’ll use this powerful secret weapon only for good. If you want more information about any of the 5 steps for Effective Performance Feedback, to get our Planned Spontaneous Recognition app or for a free coaching call for help with your first script contact me at kate@leadinstitute.com or 734-995-5222.