The Feedback Model

feedbackFeedback is one of the most frequently used tools of successful managers. It shows team members the impacts of their behavior, either positive or corrective, so they can either change their ineffective behavior or continue doing those that are positive. 

Why don't we give feedback more often? As managers and team members, we may fear conflict, forget to thank others, or simply not know how. The Feedback Model is a four-step process for starting an effective feedback conversation. 


The Feedback Model

Step 1: Ask Permission to Give the Feedback

You should always ask to give feedback. It doesn't matter whether the feedback is positive or corrective. This gives the person receiving feedback the chance to mentally prepare for it. Remember, ambush feedback is not effective and it's not acceptable.

Step 2: Describe the Behavior

You should only describe the person's behavior. You can't guess at a person's attitude, intent, or motivation. Behavior is what you actually see and hear.

Step 3: Describe the Impact of the Behavior

Tell the person the result of his/her actions, whether it's positive or negative. The impact of the behavior should be directly tied to the behavior you just mentioned.

Step 4: Discuss Future Behavior

When you're giving positive feedback, you could tell the person thanks and to keep up the good work. When it's corrective feedback, you can encourage them to create a solution to the behavior.


Problem Behavior vs. Owning the Problem

There is a difference between having problem behavior and owning the problem. We may think someone has a problem yet he/she does not think that. The person with the bad behavior isn't always the person with the problem. He/she may not see the bad behavior as a problem. So, who really has the problem?

It is the person who doesn't like the effects of the bad behavior. The first step to correcting this situation is to separate the behavior from the problem. Then, determine who has the behavior and who has the problem. 

Here are some steps you can take to see that the problem behavior gets solved:

  1. Help the person with the problem behavior understand the negative impact of his/her behavior.
  2. Encourage the person to change the behavior. 

The person may find it easier to continue the problem behavior than to make necessary changes. However, most people will correct the behavior once they realize the impact it has on others and his/her own personal objectives, income, and awards. 

Example of Positive Feedback

Manager: "Steve, may I share something with you? Thank you. I noticed you were patient with that customer today and listened to their concerns. Here's what I saw as a result: He was confident about his purchase and gave you a great review. He also gave the dealership a high customer satisfaction rating, with a special thanks to you. You did a great job. Keep up the good work!"

Example of Corrective Feedback

"Can I give you some feedback Shawn? Thanks. I noticed you arrived late four times this week. When you do that, here's what happens: It creates extra work for your team who have to cover for you. Plus, it gives the impression that you're getting special treatment and that creates hard feelings. We can't have that, so what can we do differently so that it doesn't happen again?"

The 9-to-1 Rule

Give positive feedback 9 times more often than corrective feedback. Thinking positive thoughts about a team member is not enough. The person needs to hear your positive feedback. 

  1. Positive   6. Positive
  2. Positive   7. Positive
  3. Positive   8. Positive
  4. Positive   9. Positive
  5. Positive   10. Corrective


Most managers hold their breath. Effective managers breathe.