Giving feedback - training exercise

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I am doing some manager appraisal training and need a short exercise on giving feedback. Do you have an example/suggestion?

Many thanks.

Sandra Beale FCIPD
Sandra Beale


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The WINTERS (mnemonic) Feedback Model
W hat went well?
I f nothing identified tell them
N ot so well?
T ell them
E valuate whats been learned
R eview what's been said
S urely you've got something to ask me?

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Just before I get going - Jennifer, I stand in awe!

And now, a couple of role plays:

1. In pairs

A is the manager, B plays an employee.

A should think of an actual employee in their section/department/whatever and treat B as they would if they were giving that employee feedback - but without being specific about the task(s) they are talking about. Feedback to last 3-4 minutes max.

It is then B's job to feed back to A how he/she responded to the feedback. How did it feel to get that feedback. Was it clear enough for them to know what the manager expected from them in the future? Were they clear about whether A was, overall, pleased with, neutral or disapproving of their performance? And so on.

Then swap places (physically - so the manager's seat and the employee's seat are the same for both) and swap roles and the new A feeds back to the new B and then receives feedback.

2. In pairs

The same basic set-up, only now A can be as specific and detailed as he/she wishes.

B's task this time is simply to indicate by non-verbal signals ONLY (facial expression and body language) how they react to whatever A says. These reactions MUST be as restrained as would be the case in real life. OTT expressions, violent body movements and poignent sighing/hysterical or ironic laughter, etc. are out.


Again the initial feedback doesn't need to last more than 23-4 minutes at most. The discussion afterwards should be about whether B thought A was understanding their signals/reacting appropriately; and from A, whether they were able to adjust their feedback according to the signals they thought they were getting.

A homework or pre-course exercise:

Devise two scenarios in which

1. Someone needs to be disciplined (for swearing at a customer, or for physically threatening a colleague (without actually following through, for example)
2. Someone has gone astray, but through no fault of their own (a new employee, say, who needs guidance rather than discipline).

Get the trainees to write down in their own words what the feedback will focus on, what they want the subject of the feedback to get from it, and at least an outline script.

This material could then form the basis for an open discussion - with the trainer giving his/her own feedback at the end.

Hope this is of use

Be well

Andy Bradbury

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Three magic questions in this order

1.Tell me what went well with this project/piece of work?

2. And if you did it again what would you do differently?

3.And what support would you need from me?

Best Wishes


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Hi Sandra

I use a role play activity that always works well. I ask four trainees to do a simple drawing of a house in two minutes. I then collect the drawings, examine each drawing in turn and give four different types of feedback; one trainee receives ‘ideal’ feedback; one receives very negative feedback; one receives very positive but irrelevant feedback; the fourth trainee is ignored therefore doesn’t receive any feedback. The group then discusses the effects and implications of the four types of feedback. The types of feedback can be changed so that they are aligned to the course content and learning outcomes. I privately warn the person who is to get very negative feedback; they need some inkling of how I will behave towards them so that they don’t get upset. I do this by giving them a brief note which they mustn’t show their colleagues. If you need a fuller description of this activity please ask.

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I don't have a specific exercise, but in the past have built up feedback skills throughout the course. At the start of a course I would introduce some basics around feedback

- Feedback needs to be regular and have clarity
- Avoid the feedback sandwich
- Build Motivational Feedback first
- Build Development Feedback secondly
- focus on behaviour not personality
- The one I always preach is 'catch someone doing something right'

Once the basics have been introduced, throughout the course, get feedback from individuals on exercise, activities etc - and then even offering feedback on feedback

Hope it helps - if you need more clarity give me a shout!



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Hi Sandra
This may be too late for you, however I do have an exercise on that you can download. I use it as an ice breaker on appraisal workshops. It's called 'Sensitive Issues' and it provides a range of situations at work to give feedback on. They take very little time to complete but does exemplify some of the key points about giving feedback - empathy, be behavioural, take ownership etc. You'll find it in the 'Free Trainer Stuff' section on top tool bar, in category 'Management Skills 1'.
Hope that helps
Happy Days!

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