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The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

To foster a culture of constructive communication, here are two powerful frameworks for giving and receiving feedback.

Giving Feedback: The 4S Framework

Effective feedback is more than just a mandatory task; it’s an opportunity to build stronger, more collaborative relationships. The 4S framework provides a structured yet dynamic approach to enhance the feedback-giving process:

  1. SET the Scene: Start by sharing the context and explaining why the feedback is important. This helps establish shared goals and common ground, setting a positive tone for the discussion.

  2. SPECIFY Situation and Impact: Use factual, specific observations to communicate your feedback. "I" statements enhance credibility and ensure that the feedback is personal and genuine. Focus on what you have observed firsthand.

  3. SHIFT to Future-Focused: Transition to actionable needs or requests for the future. Collaborate with the receiver to plan the next steps together, ensuring that the feedback leads to constructive changes and continuous improvement.

  4. SHOW Empathy: Empathy is crucial. Acknowledge the receiver’s situation and perspective. Be attentive to their reactions, and if they seem triggered, pause and reschedule the conversation to ensure it remains productive and respectful.

Receiving Feedback: The 6Cs Framework

Hearing the phrase, "Can I give you feedback?" can instantly put anyone on edge. Yet, when received effectively, feedback can be a catalyst for personal and professional growth. The 6Cs framework provides a methodical approach to help you receive feedback constructively:

  1. CONFIRM Understanding: Actively listen and reflect on what you’ve heard by reiterating key messages. This ensures you accurately understand the feedback being given.

  2. CLARIFY for Specifics: Ask for more information or examples to gain a clearer picture of the feedback. Specific details can help you understand the context and the impact of your actions.

  3. CIRCLE Back, if Needed: Recognize your emotional triggers and ask for time to process the feedback if necessary. Taking a moment to reflect can lead to more thoughtful and effective responses.

  4. CONVEY Your Input: Share your perspectives and insights regarding the feedback. Discuss any factors that may have influenced your actions or behaviour, promoting a two-way dialogue.

  5. COLLABORATE: Explore actionable solutions and next steps with the feedback giver. Collaboration ensures that both parties are aligned and committed to improvement.

  6. COMMIT and Apply: Commit to the agreed next steps and plan for follow-up. Ongoing communication with the feedback giver can help sustain growth and development.

By embracing these frameworks, organizations and individuals can transform the way they give and receive feedback. The 4S and 6Cs frameworks not only make feedback more effective but also foster a culture of empathy, collaboration, and continuous improvement.


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