This course teaches the skills that are necessary to both give and receive constructive and positive feedback in a way that maintains relationships and increases performance. Feedback opens the door to discussion and problem solving, and it is essential to personal growth and development. When feedback is given constructively, the receiver of the feedback is more likely to listen non-defensively and take appropriate action. It is important for learners to discover that the receiver of feedback has equal responsibility in creating a comfortable interaction between the giver and receiver.
Students begin the course by defining feedback and identifying why it is so hard to give. The answer identified in class will be a surprise and will begin to develop the learners’ awareness of how to provide feedback. Next, students become involved in a role play using a realistic scenario. During this scenario, students are assigned roles and will then provide feedback as either supervisor to employee, or peer to peer. The objective is to explore how to approach individuals when giving feedback; it is a fun but significant learning exercise about what style of feedback people most want from others. An important influence technique in giving feedback of any kind is the ability to speak from the standpoint of observation versus judgment, and use effective language that reflects the appropriate standpoint. Students will learn this important technique using lecture, video, and practice.
Two models are provided in the material for students to use as they begin to learn and practice the skills. One model provides a four-step process for giving constructive feedback; a three-step model is also demonstrated and used for providing positive feedback. After these models are taught, students engage in a robust skills practice activity. One of the most challenging aspects of giving constructive feedback is anticipating and responding to the reaction of the receiver. In this activity, students learn methods and techniques for handling situations when the receiver gives a negative response. Students conclude the session by learning the equally important, but sometimes forgotten, skill of effectively receiving feedback. During the What Would You Say? activity, students explore appropriate responses to a variety of feedback scenarios.