How to provide feedback at work?

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In my coaching practice, I am quite often asked to recommend a technique that would enable us to provide feedback at work: to co-workers, subordinates, and superiors as well. How to do it, to be diplomatic and don’t make the recipient defensive, and express our thoughts effectively.


Hers is a universal, simple (albeit very effective) SBI technique:

  1. Situation,

  2. Behavior,

  3. Impact.

Let’s please see it on the following example:

  1. Yesterday, when you ran your webcast (specific Situation)

  2. and you spoke very quickly (specific Behavior)

  3. webcast participants might get the perception that you were either stressed or came to this webcast unprepared (Impact this Behavior in this Situation made on others).

Such feedback must be shared promptly (we don’t wait to share our observations for days). Only if a given situation still lives in a given person, there will be a true willingness to listen to our feedback and hearing it (and let’s please note there is a big difference between listening to and hearing a given message).

Continuing on specific technical hints: it is also important that we try to avoid “you” messages.

“You” is quite finger-pointing and some people may even feel physical pain, especially in very stressful situations. Instead, we try to use “I” messages as much as we can.

So, for example:

instead of “yesterday you ignored me”, try: “yesterday, when I did not receive from you agreed report I felt ignored”.

This approach gives feedback’s receiver much wider (and therefore enriching) possibility to learn how others feel/think because of her/his behaviors.


That was just about the selected technique. Before we however start using “techniques” let’s please first better build trust, be authentic, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes ourselves.

Approx. 75% of human communication is non-verbal. So, before winning 25% of the verbal part, let’s first create the space for opening 75% up :-)

#feedback #peoplemanager #work #praca #coaching #coachingonline

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