There are times when it isn’t a good idea to give feedback for development right away. For example, it’s not wise to share feedback when you’re experiencing a strong negative emotion. It’s better to regain calm first. Feedback is best received when it’s intended to be helpful, rather than scolding or punitive. Words said in anger, however righteous, will most likely cause alienation or resentment.

When determining whether to give a colleague developmental feedback, consider the following criteria.  It’s not appropriate to give feedback when:

  • The issue is not affecting work or work relationships.
  • It’s not behavioral, but rather is about personality or character issues.
  • The intent is to be punitive, disciplinary, purely self-serving, or retaliatory, rather than supportive and constructive.
  • It’s not timely.
  • It’s vague (rather than specific) — that is, the facts around the situation are not known or observed firsthand and cannot be expressed in the STAR/AR format.
  • The concern is about a serious job performance issue that would be best handled by the person’s leader or the human resources department.

In the next post, we will describe a model for giving feedback.

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