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Giving and receiving feedback successfully.

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Niggles are funny things. They can come and go, can be minor or significant, yet nearly always you’ll find that they are your body's way of telling you that something simply needs addressing. 

Athletes know that the reality of ignoring a niggle can cause long term, impactful problems, and in the workplace, it’s no different. 

At Yoyo, we want a culture that is open, honest and transparent because we know that’s how strong relationships develop and last. That’s why we allow ourselves and our team plenty of time and opportunity to continually work on addressing those niggles - head on. 

So, here’s why suppressing your workplace niggle is never a good idea. 

  1. You’ll continue to feel frustrated, demoralised and exhausted (forever!)
  2. The person receiving the feedback won’t ever have the chance to grow and improve.
  3. You need to give each other an opportunity to move forward and improve your relationship - we’re not in the playground anymore. 

So we know why it’s important to address your niggle and you didn’t really need this article to tell you that. What you may find useful however is some advice on the best way to positively give and receive feedback effectively and simply. And let’s face it, in a way that will essentially avoid any awkward exchanges when it comes to that upcoming Christmas party. 

So, we’ve pulled together a list of DOs and DON'Ts that may just help.


Challenge yourself. Ask yourself whether you are being fair and consistent? Are you just focused on being right? People do things in lots of different ways - are they actually not doing it right, or just not doing it the way you would do it? Take a second to think about it. 

Be clear and prepared. Less is more, keep things simple. Don’t try to deliver ten bits of jumbled up feedback, it’s much more effective if it’s just one particular bit of feedback that you have prepared for. 

Schedule a meeting. Popping a “catch up” in their diary doesn't give them any context or time to prepare, make it clear it's a face to face meeting so they can remove any disruptions and give them a top level overview of what you plan to discuss so they have time to consider it. 

Frame the context around the situation and not the person. Instead of reeling off a list of what they have done wrong or badly, talk more about the situation as opposed to the person and how it made you feel. Discuss how you are both going to work together to come to a resolution, be on the same team.  

Explain the problem. Give them the details and tell them what knock on effect it is having on you and how it’s impacting other colleagues and making them feel. 

Ask for their take on the situation. Sounds simple, but asking for their thoughts directly can be quite insightful. Their take may put things into perspective for you, so give them the opportunity and space to share it.


Be thinking of your next question. When you’ve finished talking, actually take the time to listen to them and fully digest their response. Be interested in what they are saying, ask questions to get more clarity. It’s crucial they know you’re listening and understanding what they are saying too.

Go off topic. Keep things focused around addressing the key points in your feedback only. The conversation could move in lots of different directions, but always ensure you're reiterating and looping back to the key points. 

Use Hearsay. Stick to the facts, the stats, your feedback can’t be taken seriously if it’s based on something someone else has said. Avoid phrases such as: “Well, X told me..” Use your own knowledge and clear evidence to support your argument. 

Ignore body language. Granted, this is harder when not meeting face to face, but body language is so important to read when you’re giving feedback. If someone is looking cross or emotional, empathise and show your understanding and perhaps change your tone and your own body language accordingly. 

Be instantly on the defensive. Know how your brain works, it’s as hard to receive feedback as it is to give it. Allow each other time to reflect and rationalise the situation. Sometimes giving each other time to reflect and revisit can be really beneficial if things get heated. 

Leave it on a bad note. Tell them how important it was for you to give feedback in this way and be thankful to them for sharing their thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy to give or receive feedback, but be gracious and grateful for giving each other the time to try to resolve the problem. 

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Hopefully with the above tips in your back pocket you can feel more at ease and confident with giving and receiving feedback and you’re now in a position to schedule your meeting. 

But, if you still need a little more convincing before you book that initial meeting, take a look at these three simple framework agreements that may help you plan for and create further structure to help you on your way. 

Keen to hear more about Yoyo's people and culture, take a look at our Culture Playbook. 

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