Delivering Feedback to Millennials (and Everyone Else)

Learning happens best when you get feedback and it’s done in a safe space.1 The advantages of being a learning organization are:

  1. Maintaining levels of innovation and remaining competitive 2
  2. Being better placed to respond to external pressures 2
  3. Having the knowledge to better link resources to customer needs 3
  4. Improving quality of outputs at all levels 3
  5. Improving corporate image by becoming more people oriented 3
  6. Increasing the pace of change within the organization 3

How you deliver feedback is important.  Many folks will also say that Millennials don’t handle feedback well however I would suggest that there isn’t much supporting this statement.   As a leader you can only control what you do and delivering the way you give feedback is a high leverage point for you.  Here are some guidelines to follow when giving feedback:

  1. Think of feedback as a withdrawal from a bank account and a positive comment as a deposit.  You need to have more deposits than withdrawals.
  2. It takes about 3 deposits to equal 1 withdrawal.  Research shows that high performing teams have a ratio of 3 positive comments to 1 negative.  Negative can be items like feedback at times.
  3. The faster you give feedback the quicker the learning cycle 1
  4. Give the feedback and then let the person say their side of the story and express how they feel.
  5. Give suggestions on what can be done to improve
  6. Track specific items that are 100% in their control and find a time to review the progress being made

Following these guidelines is a good place to start with feedback.  By doing this you create a psychologically safe space for people to feel comfortable and improving.  If you don’t create a safe space people take feedback as a stress response and can shut down and disengage if you are not careful.

If you want to learn more about how to give feedback apply for a discovery call now and we can do a deep dive discovery of your situation at no cost if you qualify.

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1. Kolb, A. & Kolb, D. (September 30 2008)  Experiential Learning Theory: A Dynamic, Holistic Approach to Management Learning, Armstrong: Management Learning, Edu. and Develop. (paper a4) p. 42-68

2. McHugh, D., Groves, D. and Alker, A. 1998. Managing learning: what do we learn from a learning organization? The Learning Organization. 5 (5) pp.209-220.

3. Pedler, M., Burgogyne, J. and Boydell, T. 1997. The Learning Company: A strategy for sustainable development. 2nd Ed. London; McGraw-Hill.