Feedback For Staff

2. Timing–Timing of feedback should be both frequent and discreet, meaning at least daily (informally) and always out of the earshot of campers. Offer colleagues feedback soon enough for them to have a chance to improve, but not directly in front of children. Although some feedback cannot be offered immediately, most staff resent hearing “You could have done a better job” weeks after the performance in question. Time the praise close enough to a job well done so that it effectively reinforces the behavior.

3. Delivery–Delivery of feedback should be respectful, balanced, specific and solicitous. Use a kind tone, recognize colleagues’ strengths and weaknesses, cite specific examples and–to keep the feedback flowing in both directions–ask colleagues what they suggest you might do to improve. At the end of a formal feedback session, always ask, “Do you have any questions about what I’ve said?” and “Can I clarify anything for you?” and “When can we follow up with each other to see how things are going?”

4. Follow-up—Following-up means checking back to see how a suggestion you’ve made has been implemented (“How is it going with the _________?”). Praise improvements and problem-solve together about changes that haven’t been made, but still need to be. Follow-up may also mean telling supervisees how you as the supervisor have implemented a suggestion that they made for you. Beginning with a mutual commitment to professional development and ending with a follow-up session that indexes change, the aspects of effective feedback reviewed above are powerful components of organizational growth.

Good feedback truly does feed.

Dr. Christopher Thurber is a board-certified clinical psychologist and the creator of Leadership Essentials, an online library of video training modules for camp staff. Learn more by visiting Chris’s Web sites, CampSpirit.com and ExpertOnlineTraining.com.

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