If you've ever tuned a guitar or worked with artifical life, the concept of feedback is second nature. And like many things in life, it's a double edged sword. When manually tuning a guitar the feedback allows you to make sure every string is in tune with each other. On the other hand, when the microphone and speakers are wailing out a midrange loop, stopping feedback becomes an immediate priority.
It's very much the same with people. You want effective feedback in order to allow people to adjust themselves so that they can become more in tune with the group. But what you don't want is the kind of feedback that causes someone to withdraw from the loop in order to stop the feedback. And most people I know have had a lot more experience with the second than the first.
And while we still have some growing to do, one thing that has helped us is a process called a SAMOLO (Same As, More Of, Less Of). This is a process that can be done one-on-one, many-on-one, or many-on-many, making it perfect for providing feedback to individuals or small groups such as project teams or committees. The goal is to recognise the behaviors and skillsets that deserve recognition and should be encouraged as well as finding methods for positive growth.
'Same As' are those traits that you value and don't want to lose. Many traditional feedback methods end up glossing over these items and as a result the behaviors that should be reinforced, aren't.
'More Of' are those traits that you want to encourage. It may be a newly acquired skill or the beginning of a behavior. Or it may be an area where something is lacking and you want to help ther person find a way of bridging the gap.
'Less Of' are those traits that have simply gone too far. They may be great traits, but eventually someone will 'out Herods, Herod' and things need to return to normal.
The important thing is for everyone involved to remember what they're doing. It's not supposed to be painful for anyone. There is nothing to be defensive about. We're just making sure everyone is in tune with each other.