5 Steps for Effective Feedback

Prepare – Management Training in Denver, Colorado

Depending on your personality style, some of you will be more likely to want to prepare than others. If you take time to reflect on the feedback that needs to be given (whether positive or constructive), it will be more meaningful and have more of an impact. The tool that we teach in our trainings is called WIR-LA, and if you follow the steps it will help you be ready to give feedback and make uncomfortable situations more manageable.Often entry level managers are giving little training. This feedback tool is very helpful for Management Training in Denver, Colorado and beyond.

Step 1: What happened?

This may seem obvious, but it is the most important step in the process. Because most people are not open to constructive, or even positive feedback, the setup for the conversation is everything. Make sure it is at a good time when they can give you their full attention. Be open to rescheduling the conversation if necessary.  When you start with “what happened” – the most important thing is to make sure that the data is objective. That is, there are none of your own judgements or evaluations sneaking into the data.

For example, let’s say that John didn’t get his report in on time – again! As his manager, you need to give him feedback. Here are two options for the “what happened”.

1. You’re always late with your reports.
2. The report was due by 5 yesterday.

Which is the data? Of course, the answer is b. Statement a. contains the word “always,” which is a judgement. The more specific you can be with your data, the better.  Think of a situation where you need to give feedback, and write down the “what happened” as if a camera would have recorded it.

Step 2: Impact

What was the impact of the behavior? To you, to the team, to the organization? People sometimes don’t understand why what they did or didn’t do is a big deal until they get the impact on others. So, in the above example the impact could be many different things depending on your work situation. For example: I couldn’t get in my report because I was waiting on your information. We didn’t have the data ready for the client, which cost us the contract.

Think about your situation, and what was the impact of the “what happened.”

Step 3: Request

Now think about what your request is of the person. It might be something like: I would like you to apologize to my boss and explain what happened. Are you willing to do that? Or, we have another report due on Friday, I want to make sure you can get it in on time. Do you need any support?

One of the most important parts about a request is that you get a clear “yes” to your request. So when you ask, can you get it in on time – you need to get either a “yes” or – here’s the support I need to do that.

Step 4: Listen

This is an organic part of the process and might not be “step 4.” Just be prepared to actually set your agenda aside and listen fully to what the other person has to say. Many of us think we are listening when we are really just waiting for a space to say what we want to say.

Step 5: Agreement

You may have to go through steps 3 and 4 a few times to get a clear request and listen to the other person’s point of view. If possible, collaborate to agreement – that is, find a win-win solution. If necessary, put the agreement in writing.

So there you have it, that’s the WIR-LA. Here are two examples, one for constructive and one for positive feedback.

Example 1: Constructive Feedback

  1. W (What happened): When you didn’t let me know the names and emails of everyone in
    the class tomorrow

  2. I (Impact):                I wasn’t able to get the assessments out in time which means not
    everyone will have their reports. This will impact the training as I will
    have to give people time to do their assessments at the beginning of
    class.

  3. R (Request)             Next time can you put it in your calendar so that you don’t miss that
    deadline?

  4. (Listen)

  5. (Agreement)            Find a way to come to agreement (go through listening and requests
    until you get a “yes”)

Example 2: Positive Feedback (often only steps 1 and 2 are necessary)

  1. W (What happened) I saw that you gave some great ideas in the meeting. Especially the
    one about restructuring our procurement process.

  2. I (Impact)                 When you speak up it really makes our team more effective and
    creative. Thanks for your good work.

Now you are ready to give some great feedback! Transformative Solutions offers Management Training in Denver, Colorado and beyond. Contact us for a free needs assessment. contact@transformativetraining.com

Management Training in Denver, Colorado

 Jeannie Gunter, MA President and Founder

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