Thank you for your great response to this post about the Feedback Forum. Below is our first entry:
My initial response:
Sometimes feedback seekers are met with a very basic or generic response. And sometimes supervisors aren’t equipped with the tools to provide effective feedback to all employees or colleagues. Let’s focus on this question:
“Is it the employee’s job to “explain” their job expectations so the supervisor can build an understand about what the job entails.”
It shouldn’t be, but if it becomes clear that the supervisor isn’t sure what to look for or what “good” work in that role looks like, the employee can identify some specific look fors to help prompt the supervisor prior to the feedback session. This could go a number of ways, depending on that employee’s relationship with the supervisor. The first thing I would do would be to communicate a few specific, clear goals with that supervisor. If necessary try to work in some of your job description. For (very generic) example, “Since a large part of my role is working with ______ I’d like to focus on improving the way I communicate ______.”
In my classroom I had a feedback folder that included instructional strategies that I was working on (Right is Right from Teach Like a Champion was one of them) and feedback forms. I communicated this to supervisors and colleagues and welcomed questions and discussion. I did what I could to help equip observers with the tools they needed to provide the feedback that I needed to move forward in my practice. Prior to including these look fors, people were leaving positive feedback only. Asking for specific growth feedback gave people permission to make suggestions or share something they observed that I could change. The result of the feedback folder was focused, useful feedback.
Another recommendation I would make is to follow up with the supervisor after the feedback. Even if the feedback was generic (you could make more eye contact) that employee could say, “I’ve been focused on making more eye contact during my presentations; I’ve also been trying some new techniques to involve the participants in discussion, would you mind stopping by my next meeting to check it out?” Becoming good at giving effective feedback is a skill, and it requires practice. A little guidance and frequent opportunities may be what that supervisor needs to become more comfortable in their feedback practices.
Okay, Formative Feedback Project, what advice would you give? Comment below or submit your responses via the contact tab or on Twitter using #forfeedback.