Do you cringe when you hear the word feedback, or does it scare your employees away the moment you mention it? While feedback isn’t about offering harsh criticism, it seems to have gotten a poor reputation over the years.  Simply put, feedback is information given by a person about the performance of another person, usually linked to a task or certain goal.  Giving and receiving feedback is a skill that needs to be mastered for becoming a good leader. It can help you positively influence employee performance and behaviour, and improve business results. 

Feedback is useful regardless of the field you work in. It is becoming increasingly important for those working in the hospitality industry, where the main focus is people. That’s why it’s a good idea to make giving and receiving feedback a regular daily practice, instead of reserving it for performance reviews only.

This article will focus on how to effectively give and receive feedback. It also briefly discusses the SBI method, and how to incorporate the feedback you receive when leading a team of hospitality professionals.

5 Things To Keep In Mind When Giving Feedback

Your hospitality workers can benefit from the feedback they receive from management and colleagues. But the way you deliver this feedback to them will determine the outcome. We’ve listed the 5 things you need to keep in mind when giving feedback below:

1. Use Positive Language

When giving feedback, use positive language as much as possible. It is human nature to be defensive the moment that we feel attacked or threatened. By using positive language, the other person will be more receptive to your message. Be sure to use the appropriate tone and delivery as well. The way you say something will have an impact on how the person will receive your feedback.

2. Focus on the Action, Not the Person

Focusing on what happened rather than who did it is key when giving feedback. Teamwork is vital when working in the hospitality industry. One person's actions might negatively affect another person's work and productivity. Remember that the main objective of giving feedback is  improvement, not criticism or censure.

3. Be Clear and Specific

It is essential that when you give feedback, you are as clear and as specific as possible. Instead of saying “The presentation was too long” you can say “It is good that you gave an introduction to the topic. For the next presentation, however, 15 minutes will be sufficient.” You should state the objective, steps to be taken, and what the expected result is. By zeroing in on what exactly needs to be done and giving suggestions on what can be improved, the person will be able to focus on the changes that have to be made and will be able to implement them. 

4. Choose the Appropriate Time

You should give feedback in a timely manner. As soon as you notice the behaviour or action that needs to be changed, it should be addressed immediately. Don’t wait for the person to forget it then bring the incident up weeks later. This will catch the person by surprise and might result in resentment: Why is this being brought up only now? Proper timing can also mean that you might want to give the feedback in private, with just the two of you, rather than addressing it in a general setting such as in a meeting or during a presentation. The goal of giving feedback is to be constructive and not to humiliate your employees or colleagues. A little sensitivity can go a long way in the workplace.

5. Recognise a job done well

Giving feedback doesn't always have to be about what a person has done wrong. Recognising someone's effort and excellence in their job should be verbalised as well. Acknowledging that your colleague or team surpassed your expectations will empower as well as motivate them to continue in that manner. Showing other people that you appreciate their efforts will increase their confidence, which can lead to a happier work environment.

SBI: The Best Method for Giving Feedback

There are several tools and methods that you can use when giving feedback. One of which is the Situation, Behaviour, Impact (SBI) Method that has been developed by the Centre for Creative Leadership. It consists of the following:

  • Label the situation: Describe the specific situation in which the behaviour occurred. Include the time and place to reduce any confusion.
  • Describe the behaviour: Describe the actual, observable behaviour being discussed. Keep to facts only and avoid inserting any opinions or judgments.
  • Describe the impact: Describe the results of the behaviour in terms of the impact it had, and whether the effect was positive or negative.

By using this method, the focus is on what happened instead of on a specific person. The feedback will be easier to understand by the receiver when delivered in this manner. 


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4 Things to Do When Receiving Feedback

1. Be Open to Feedback

When a colleague or a supervisor gives you feedback, you should listen and try to understand what is being said. If something isn't clear, ask questions. The intention should be to clarify and not to be on the defensive. In a hotel setting, customer feedback should be encouraged. One way to do this is by creating a survey form, whether in print or digital format. Keep it simple yet engaging by asking open-ended questions versus simply ticking yes or no boxes or having a rating on a 1-5 scale. Insights gathered from the survey and applied on the job will ensure a better customer experience for the next guests. 

2. Be Careful With Non-verbal Signals

You might find yourself crossing your arms or turning away from your colleague when being given feedback. Your facial expressions are also indicators of how you are feeling. Being receptive means having an open mindset,  avoiding antagonism and ill feelings towards the person delivering feedback. 

3. Assess and Implement the Feedback

Now that you have received the feedback, it's time to think about it. Determine how you can apply the suggestions and insights to your future actions with the end in view to improve your performance on the job.

4. Ask For Help if Needed

Sometimes when we receive feedback, we might still feel lost on what to do or how to implement it. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of a colleague or even a superior to benefit from their experience and expertise. Follow up and seek further feedback to see if the changes you have applied are working.


Incorporating the Feedback We Receive as Leaders

For people who are at a supervisory level, it is equally important that they are open to feedback from both their customers as well as their colleagues. You need to set an example for the rest of your team by showing them that you are open to suggestions and improvement. Be clear on the goal and feedback that is actionable. Focus on what is possible, as you won’t be able to please everybody.  

Giving and receiving feedback should not only be a one-time thing, rather a regular daily practice. Start by creating an atmosphere of trust so that your staff feels at ease to express their concerns, and share their feedback freely without fear of retribution. Create a mechanism for feedback, be it a suggestion box or during regular staff meetings, or simply keep the door to your office open at any time. Then, act on the feedback by deciding whether to apply changes where necessary and provide support to improve the work environment.


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