Our brains crave feedback. It helps us learn and work towards success. In our daily lives we often receive direct feedback, but in many organizations we hold back when it comes to sharing how others to improve. Feedback is most often given by a manager to an employee during a priorly set formal meeting – like a yearly or quarterly review. But feedback is even more valuable when it’s given without delay, direct at the moment it’s relevant. In other words: feedback on the spot.
Research in the field of neuro-science shows us that direct feedback improves our motivation and increases our understanding of the consquences of our actions. On top of that research shows that our brain learns faster when we receive feedback on the spot (Opitz, Ferdinand, Mecklinger). Feedback has to suffice to three conditions for it to be effective: it needs to be specific, direct (on the spot) and related to a learning goal.
Outside of our work environment we find this process logical and intuitive – for example: when you want to put up a painting on the wall, you ask someone to give you direct and specific feedback ‘a bit to the left, a little bit to the right – perfect!’. Non-specific, ‘make sure it in the middle’, or delayed ‘remember when you put up that painting’, feedback wouldn’t work. Which is logical because when we receive feedback a long time after a specific action, the learning goal tends to be less or no longer relevant. Besides that, our memory is not 100% objective, therefore the person giving and receiving feedback can have different memories of a situation. That makes it difficult to agree on which behaviour was non-productive and what could have gone better. This way delayed feedback causes delayed progress and learning, while specific, on the spot feedback accelerates growth.
What can you do to stimulate on-the-spot feedback within your team? Because by doing it you can contribute to creating an environment that puts learning first and where feedback is part of the daily business.
Do you want to put this theory to action with your team? Read more about our Feedforward workshop.
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