School of Nursing
How to Give and Receive Feedback
Maine Medical Center Nursing Services How to Give Feedback
- Perceptions, reactions and opinions should be presented as such and not as facts.
- Feedback should refer to the relevant performance, behavior, or outcomes, not to the individual as a person.
- Feedback should be in terms of specific, observable behavior, not general or global.
- When feedback has to be evaluated rather then purely descriptive, it should be in terms of established criteria, probable outcomes or possible improvement, as opposed to making judgments such as "good" or "bad."
- Feedback regarding an area of performance should include a discussion of what is viewed as the "high" and "low" points of that performance and the specific behaviors which appear to be contributing to or limiting full effectiveness or accomplishment.
- In discussing problem areas in which there are technical or established procedures for achieving solutions, suggestions should be made regarding possible means of improving performance.
- Feedback should avoid "loaded" terms which produce emotional reactions and raised defenses.
- Feedback should be concerned with those things over which an individual can exercise some control, and/or be given in ways in which indicate how the feedback can be used for improvement or planning alternative actions.
- When encountering rising defenses or emotional reactions, the person giving feedback should deal with these reactions rather than tying to convince, reason or supply additional information.
- Feedback should be given in a manner which communicates acceptance of the receiver as a worthwhile person and of that person's right to be different.
How to Receive Feedback
- Most people are much more interested in giving feedback than in receiving it, maybe that is why there are fewer things that can be said about receiving feedback than about giving it. The receiver should always try to remember that fed-back responses offer the opportunity for learning. Try to follow these steps when receiving feedback.
- Listen carefully.
- Try not to let defenses build, but mentally note questions or disagreements.
- Paraphrase what you think you hear to check your perception.
- Ask questions for clarification and ask for examples in those areas which are unclear or in which disagreement exists. Paraphrase answers again.
- Carefully evaluate the accuracy and potential value of what you have heard.
- Gather additional information from other sources or by observing your own behavior and other persons' reactions to it.
- Do not over react to feedback but, where desired, modify your behavior in suggested directions and then evaluate the outcomes.