Giving and receiving feedback

We discussed appraisal skills for managers in previous lessons.

Giving feedback

147Giving feedback is a life skill, which everyone would benefit from studying and practicing

Feedback should not be a subjective opinion, but based on facts, and should be evidenced by examples.

Feedback should be used to enable the team to appreciate the impact of their behaviour. It is best used positively to reinforce successes and identify opportunities for improvement.

Feedback will work best when;-

  • Events are described as your opinion, making it blame free and not judgmental .E.g. “A was upset when B was done “Is a description rather than a judgement such as “you upset A by doing B “.
  • Their opinion is sought as to why the events in question took place
  • If People are encouraged to draw their own conclusions about events and their cause, they are more likely to accept feedback.
  • It is linked to actual events, and actions.
  • The person understands what went wrong,
  • Discussion and action does not apportion blame, but seeks to put right the problem

Receiving feedback

Receiving feedback is not easy, especially if it is negative .It helps to be open to feedback, listen to what is said and observe the body language of the person giving you the feedback. Use effective listening tools, by questioning, and clarifying what you have been told. Your emotional intelligence will help you to manage your own response

360 degree review or feedback

360 degree assessment is sometimes used as an alternative approach to performance management. The appraises direct reports, line manager, colleagues and customers may be invited to provide feedback which may be collated anonymously and presented to the appraisee by HR, or a peer in another branch or department.

Transactional Analysis

We discussed Tools and techniques for handling conflict in the workplace in previous lessons.

Transactional Analysis is a theory concerning personality, communication and a study of patterns of behavior. It is based on a fairly complex theory developed by Eric Berne in the 1950’s. He stated that spoken communication is central to personal social relationships and psychoanalysis. He also stated that everyone has three alter ego states: Parent Adult and Child

Parent is the deep seated voice of authority, which reflects attitudes, conditioning and learning from childhood.

Child is our seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional self. When anger or despair is the prevailing emotion, the Child is in control.

Adult is our ability to think and decide on actions for ourselves.

We communicate as one of our alter ego states. According to Transactional Analysis Theory, successful communications must go from the receiving ego state to the sending ego state or communication is not effective, or one party may be upset. Then the situation can only be retrieved by a correlating transaction. That is, go back from the receiving ego state to the sending ego state

So it is important to be aware which ego state you are in, and communicating with, and how to retrieve a situation that is deteriorating.

Some illustrations which will help you recognize the ego state sending the signal


Physical – angry body-language and expressions, pointing fingers,

Verbal – always, never, for once and for all, critical words, patronizing language,


Physical -, despair, temper tantrums, whining voice, shrugging shoulders, delight, laughter.

Verbal – baby talk, I wish, I don’t care, oh no, not again, things never go right for me, worst day of my life,


Physical – attentive, interested, straight-forward, calm, not-threatened or threatening.

Verbal – why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in what way, comparative expressions, reasoned statements, I think, I realize, I see, I believe, in my opinion.

The theory is now significantly evolved and more complex, and suggests that effective communications and relationships are based on complementary transactions, and adult to adult.

Some people get results by being dictatorial (Parent to Child), or by having temper tantrums, (Child to Parent), but Adult to Adult is generally recommended for effective communication.

Understanding Transactional Analysis can help explain what is going on in a communication. It can also help us consciously select an appropriate ego state.