Feedback Should Foster Learning, Not Defensiveness

A Proven Model for Constructive Feedback

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This is the second part of a two-episode series on delivering feedback effectively. If you've not heard the previous episode, you may want to download it.

The ultimate purpose of feedback is to enhance performance. This means that feedback should be a learning experience.

Poor word choices in the feedback or the tonality with which it's delvered may upend the learning opportunity by triggering defensiveness on the part of the recipient. Defensiveness effectively nullifies learning.

In this episode, I provide a feedback technique that minimizes the opportunity for defensive reactions. The technique is called the Situation-Behavior-Impact Model, or SBI Model, for short. The three words in its name define a structure which, when used properly, makes feedback as constructive as possible.

The SBI is not original with me. It's an approach used by managers and leaders in thousands of organizations. Such widespread utilization attests to how effective this tool has proven to be.

As I develop the SBI Model over the course of this program, I examine best practices in all three elements which make up its name. And I provide precise guidance on how to keep a feedback conversation focused on facts, not on interpretation of the facts or subjective judgments about them.