Saturday, May 23, 2009

More on feedback

Following up from the crap sandwich discussion, I had a vague recollection of being taught something about peer feedback and how to make negative feedback as palatable as possible.

And... after spending far too much time going through old lecture notes and searching using Google, I found this* short document based on published work. This document gives guidance on how the nature of feedback affects motivation and also recommends not beating about the bush when it comes to providing feedback - so no crap sangers, please.

I particularly like the "Recognition Grid" which has stuck in my mind since I first came across it almost ten years ago:

Type of feedback / Effect on motivation (in what seems to be arbitrary units)
Generalised positive +100
Specific positive +50
Specific negative –200
Generalised negative –1,000

The point here being that generalised feedback applies to character traits, behaviours and other impossible to change aspects of an individual whereas specific relates to a particular action taken by that individual.

Thus, "I like working with you" is great to hear: I must be a stand-up guy! Compared with "You are terrible to work with"... what is it, do I have bad breath or something and if I do how do I change that?

Final point: negative feedback is remembered for much longer than positive... the taste of crap kinda lingers, a much more potent flavour than sliced white bread.

Reference: Carlopio, J., Andrewartha, G. & Armstrong, H. 2005. Developing management skills: a comprehensive guide for leaders. 3rd edn. Longmans, Australia. 409–410.

*For some reason Blogger is attaching some extraneous text in front of the ANU link. Remove the clearly wrong text if you want to see the file.

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