Ben Kill, Chartered MCIPD

Giving Effective Feedback - The Essential Cheat Sheet

In the realm of leadership and interpersonal communication, the ability to deliver effective feedback stands out as a cornerstone skill. It's not just about pointing out areas of improvement or celebrating successes; it's about doing so in a manner that fosters growth, understanding, and mutual respect. One of the most influential frameworks in this domain is Kim Scott's Radical Candor model, which serves as a powerful starting point for anyone looking to master the art of feedback. Alongside this, the CEDAR model, the SBI model, and the ASK-PROVIDE-ASK model offer additional dimensions and approaches to refine this essential skill.

Embracing Radical Candor
Kim Scott's Radical Candor is predicated on the simple yet profound idea of caring personally while challenging directly. It's about striking a balance where you're able to deliver hard truths in a way that is felt as a gesture of care, not criticism. To use this model effectively, one must prepare to give feedback by first ensuring that their intentions are rooted in wanting to see the other person grow and succeed. It requires building genuine relationships where feedback is seen as a two-way street – an exchange grounded in respect and trust.

The CEDAR Model: A Framework for Structured Feedback
The CEDAR model takes a more structured approach to feedback, breaking it down into five key components: Context, Examples, Diagnosis, Actions, and Review. This model encourages the feedback giver to start by setting the scene (Context), providing specific instances (Examples), analyzing the situation (Diagnosis), suggesting concrete steps forward (Actions), and closing with a plan for follow-up (Review). By adhering to this structure, feedback becomes a constructive roadmap rather than a vague or overwhelming critique.

The SBI Model: Simplifying Feedback through Specificity
The Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI) model simplifies the feedback process by focusing on three core elements. First, describe the Situation where the behavior occurred. Next, detail the specific Behavior observed. Finally, explain the Impact that this behavior had on you, the team, or the project. This model's strength lies in its clarity and focus, allowing the recipient to easily understand the feedback's context, specifics, and consequences.

The ASK-PROVIDE-ASK Model: Fostering a Collaborative Dialogue
The ASK-PROVIDE-ASK model emphasizes the collaborative nature of feedback. It begins by Asking the recipient for their perspective, thereby opening the dialogue and setting a tone of mutual engagement. The next step is to Provide your feedback, ensuring it's both clear and actionable. Finally, Ask again, inviting the recipient to reflect on the feedback and share their thoughts on next steps. This model turns feedback into a dynamic conversation, rather than a one-sided monologue, encouraging ownership and proactive engagement from the recipient.

Effective feedback is an art form that, when mastered, can transform relationships, enhance performance, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. By integrating the principles of Radical Candor with the structured approaches of the CEDAR, SBI, and ASK-PROVIDE-ASK models, individuals and leaders can create an environment where feedback is not just accepted but welcomed as a valuable tool for growth and development. Remember, at the heart of all these models is the intention to support and uplift, making feedback a powerful catalyst for positive change.
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