Remember the time when you were sitting in front of a teacher or in your boss’ office waiting to get feedback on something you did? Those clammy hands, heart palpitations, nerves of steel? Maybe not nerves of steel because when someone of authority gives you feedback, you hang on their every word. And if those words are being executed in a negative fashion, you not only hear bad things but you feel them too. So how do we give good feedback that’s motivating?
What Worked Well.
Not the World Wide Web 😉
Let’s imagine you just finished a project that took months to assemble and now the feedback is ready to come in and you’re ready too. Your boss says “I liked what you did overall, this is what worked well…” WWW. These words of praise are easy and lovely to listen to and make us feel motivated to do even more with a smile across our face. All the positives are listed here, so far so good. Notice that emotions are not involved in good feedback it’s about what worked well.
Here comes the cruncher. Thoughts like what did I do wrong start racing through your head. Those gremlins are chatting up a storm in there saying you aren’t good enough. The boss says “But here’s what I didn’t like about your work.” Or “This part was all wrong, you didn’t do ABC.” Ouch, sounds harsh right? This is a perfect example of a failure frame because it describes what’s wrong, the mistakes, faults, limitations and blame. If emotions like jealousy are laced throughout then it becomes a venting session which pretty much ends the conversation. This does nothing but de-motivate someone even if what is being said is true because it becomes personal instead of about feedback. So how do we end the madness?
Enter EBI. Even Better If….
It is possible to give positive feedback in a supportive way by saying things like “I notice the way you do your work and it would be even better if….” Or “This part would have been even better if you did XYZ….”
The feedback focuses on an outcome, a learning opportunity and how things happened. By changing the words around this constructive criticism becomes motivating and the person doesn’t feel like a failure as in the previous example.
It’s all in the delivery of what worked well and even better if.
Much Love ❤