RDAP Concept of Feedback
1. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON BEHAVIOR RATHER THAN THE PERSON
It is important that we refer to what a person does rather than on what we imagine he is. This focus on behavior further implies that we use adverbs which relate to action rather than adjectives which relate to qualities when referring to a person. Thus we might say a person “talked considerably in this group” rather than that the person “is a selfish loudmouth”.
2. FOCUS ON FEEDBACK ON OBSERVATIONS
Observations refer to what we can see or hear in the behavior of another person. Making conclusions about a person can contaminate our observations, thus clouding the feedback from another person. When conclusions are shared, and it may be valuable to have this information, it is important that they be identified as conclusions.
3. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON DESCRIPTIONS OF BEHAVIOR WHICH CAN BE MEASURED RATHER THAN ON PERSONAL VALUES
Descriptions about quantity are more helpful than those concerning quality. The participation of a person may be considered on a scale of “low to high” participation rather than “good or bad” participation.
4. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON BEHAVIOR RELATED TO A SPECIFIC SITUATION PREFERABLY TO THE “HERE AND NOW”
What you and I do is always tied in some way to time and place and we increase our understanding of behavior by keeping it tied to time and place. Feedback is most meaningful if given as soon as appropriate after the observation or reactions occur.
5. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON GIVING INFORMATION NOT ON GIVING ADVICE
By sharing ideas and information we leave the person free to decide for himself, in light of his own goals in a particular situation and at a particular time, how to use the ideas and the information. When we give advice, we tell him what to do with the information, and in that sense, we take away his freedom to determine for himself what is the most appropriate course of action.
6. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON EXPLORATION OF ALTERNATIVES RATHER THAN ANSWERS OR SOLUTIONS
One of the best ways to offer help is to assist someone in coming up with their own solutions.
7. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON THE VALUE IT MAY HAVE TO THE RECIPIENT. NOT ON THE VALUE OF THE “RELEASE” THAT IT PROVIDES THE PERSON GIVING THE FEEDBACK.
Feedback is most effective when it serves the needs of the recipient rather than the needs of the giver. Help and feedback need to be given and heard as an offer, not as a demand.
8. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT THE PERSON RECEIVING IT CAN USE RATHER THAN THE AMOUNT THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO GIVE.
To overload a person with feedback is to reduce the possibility that he may use effectively what he receives. When we give more than can be used, we are satisfying some need for ourselves rather than helping the other person.
9. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON TIME AND PLACE SO THAT PERSONAL DATA CAN BE SHARED AT APPROPRIATE TIMES.
Because the reception and use of personal feedback involves many possible emotional reactions, it is important to be sensitive to when it is appropriate feedback. Excellent feedback presented at an inappropriate time may do more harm than good.
10. FOCUS FEEDBACK ON WHAT IS SAID RATHER THAN WHY IT IS SAID.
The aspects of feedback which relate to the what, how, when, or where, are observable characteristics. The why of what is said takes us from the observable to the inferred and brings up the question of motive and process. Making assumptions about the motives of the person giving feedback may prevent us from accurately hearing what is said.
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