Get a Quote

Don’t Procrastinate Feedback

Don’t Procrastinate Feedback

Use SBI to Bring the Message Across

During a leadership development workshop for senior officers, a CEO shared that he had initiated a feedback dialogue with his staff by applying the technique taught the day before. He told us that he had postponed and avoided giving feedback for this staff for many weeks, even though he sensed that his colleague was expecting to hear from him.

The staff cried during the feedback session – not because he got scolded by his boss – because he was moved by his boss’ initiative and words.

The staff appreciated the CEO’s candid pointers on the impact of his behaviour and the guidance on improving his performance. This CEO shared that he felt relieved after his conversation with his staff. “After all, giving feedback wasn’t that difficult.”


And, in fact he is now enjoying giving and receiving feedback as he has seen the benefits – both parties are motivated and the relationship improved remarkably.

Many of us are anxious of feedback; we feel uneasy in telling or hearing the bad news. In Asian context, we are often limited by the fear of “losing face” – what if the receiver rejects our comment or advice; what if the receiver gets angry and raises voice?

Giving Feedback by Using SBI

Helping someone to reinforce his strengths as well as recognise and overcome his blind spots and learn from mistakes is every manager’s day-to-day responsibility.

For the latter, the trick is to make it less personal. Applying the SBI technique offers some structure to achieve this. SBI stands for Situation, Behaviour and Impact. SBI suggests the following three steps for your next feedback session.

  1. Specify circumstances and Situation at which the behaviour occurred.
  2. Describe the actual Behaviour you observed.
  3. State the Impact of this behaviour on you and others.

By using this technique, the feedback is rather focusing on facts – neither on person nor on assumptions. This helps to make it less threatening and easier to digest. It sounds like:

“Yesterday during our team meeting [situation], you have interrupted John and Marie when they were trying to offer their views [behaviour]. As a result, we have not heard their opinions; and the other team members may be afraid of contributing their views at the next meeting [impact].”


After stating the impact of the behaviour, you pause and wait for a response. You will be amazed how much people do listen to you. As manager, you need to be aware of your intention for giving feedback. If your intention is for your own success or just to get your message across, don’t give feedback. Choose your words carefully. “Always” or “never” should not be part of your feedback. They may sometimes put the listener off.


Giving feedback is one of the most powerful coaching techniques, the intention is to motivate, develop and enable the person. It is effective, if it is provided timely and focuses on solutions or next steps rather than searching for the culprit.

PS: Do not forget to give positive feedback, too. Good work, that gets noticed, gets repeated!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
feedbackSBIstaff development

Amy BC Tan

Amy is the Executive Director at the Centre of Organisational Effectiveness (COE Pte Ltd). She has more than 20 years of experience in human resource management and organisational development in various industries.

She has held senior leadership positions with Nokia, Aon, Ministry of Manpower and Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee. She has led the transformation of the HR functions and several organisational development initiatives for multiple organisations.

Amy is also trained in Creative Problem Solving and certified as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, an accredited practitioner in executive coaching and psychological instruments such as MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator®), DiSC, Harrison Assessment and Belbin Team Roles.

Amy can be reached via

Categorised Tag Cloud
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google
Consent to display content from - Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from - Sound