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1.2.1 Sharing Information and Feedback

Lesson Progress

1.2.1 Sharing Information and Feedback

Good working relationships are founded on openness or the willingness to share information and opinions with others. Although you may be providing information or an opinion that the other party may not necessarily want to hear, it is important to give all information that is required of you. If a colleague asks for your opinion, is it better to be open and tell them you do not believe their idea will work well or is it better to lie? In all cases, it is much better to tell the truth than to lie. 

In order to provide the right information and opinions, the information must be:

  • Clear

Information is only useful if the other party can understand it. If what you provide cannot be understood, then the information or opinions that you have provided are essentially useless. Clarity can come about through selecting digestible words, being concise, and recognizing that though you may understand what you write, the other party may not. Therefore, you must always read back what you write and think carefully about what you say. Unclear information may be misleading and fail to give the intended message; it may even give an entirely different message that you did not intend to give. 

  • Complete

Aside from being clear, the information or opinions you give also need to be complete. Be open and provide full details – do not hold information or your opinions back merely because you believe the other party does not want to hear it. The information that you provide mustn’t omit anything, as the omitted information may be the information that is most crucial in making a decision. Additionally, you ought to remember that part of being complete is providing suggestions for performance improvement based on the comments that you give.

  • Considerate

While you may find that the information you are providing is not really what the other party wants to hear, it is vital to ensure that you are being considerate and take into account how they will feel about what you will be saying. If it is not positive information, be sensitive and try to make it easier for them to read, bearing in mind their involvement in the task or project. Moreover, if you believe their ideas are not good, provide a negative opinion but attempt to justify what you are saying by giving reasons. Don’t just say yes or no, as this is incomplete information.

Promises Made, Promises Broken 

Although it may seem like common knowledge, you must ensure that any commitments, agreements, promises, or undertakings made with other parties within the workplace are always kept. A broken agreement or promise can destroy an effective working relationship. If you were to promise to get something done by a specific date, and do not – how can the other party trust you? It is extremely important that all undertakings are followed through.

Whenever promises or undertakings are made, ensure that a mutually agreed-upon timeframe is set. Consider the other work and commitments that you have and determine how long the promised work will take. After this, you are in a position to be able to agree on a timeframe for delivery. Once you have established a timeframe, keep this in mind and always ensure you deliver at the specified time. If you do not, the working relationship is likely to suffer. 

Feedback

Feedback and advice are important means of communication and information transfer. With this in mind, you must ensure that all communication is proactive as this encourages staff members to communicate with managers more frequently. Negative communication often discourages staff from letting management know what is happening on the work floor. 

Most staff members want to know how they are doing and what they can do to improve. Moreover, they also appreciate it when you notice good work and effort. 

Here are some useful tips for providing positive feedback:

  • Feedback must always be helpful and meaningful to the end-user.
    • Try to ensure that all feedback that you provide is aimed at the actual job performance of the individual concerned. 
  • Always look for ways to give people positive feedback.
    • People need to know they are doing a good job as well as areas where they could improve as often as possible.
  • Feedback that could be misconstrued as being negative should always be framed as being constructive. 
    • Do this in private and in a very timely fashion. For change to occur, people need to understand where they need improvement.
  • Give concerned staff members an opportunity to talk to you about their performance.
    • Allow them to provide feedback on the areas where they feel they are doing well and those where they think they need improvement.
  • Keep it professional.
    • Ensure to give feedback only on the concerned areas. Feedback should no include your personal and non-work-related issues with someone.

Others are Experts Too

Being a leader does not translate to having to do everything. You should draw on the expertise of others to enhance your working relationships. For you to achieve this, you must start by identifying the other parties’ area of expertise. What are they good at? What special skills do they have? What experiences have they had which you have not?

Once you have identified the skills, recognise the other parties and let them know that you would like to seek their help. You may be able to use their skills to plan certain work activities or to provide you with support and further information in certain areas. Whatever the case, ask whether they are interested and state that you believe their skills, experience, and qualifications are suited to the task.

Feedback is a valuable tool when used correctly to improve performance.

Further Reading

Much of the details of your performance plan may be heavily dependent on factors within your team, organisation, and overall workplace setting.

Thankfully, however, the fundamentals of developing this vital material are universal. To learn more about how to build your very own performance plan effectively, you may read the ACT government’s guide linked here Developing a Performance Plan.