The SBI Feedback Model

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Background

The SBI feedback model is a structure that will help you to deliver constructive feedback. The 3 steps of the SBI model are perfect for delivering behavioural based feedback to others. It helps us to structure a piece of feedback, ensuring the feedback is helpful, constructive and drives change.

The model and structure can be used for both positive and developmental (negative/critical) feedback.

SBI and Situation-Behavior-Impact are trademarks of the Center for Creative Leadership.

The SBI Feedback Model

The SBI feedback model consists of 3 parts - Situation, Behaviour and Impact. Each stage of the model has a purpose and an overall part to play in delivering constructive feedback.

The model works particularly well when the feedback you are delivering is behavioural. It helps us to point out an action that occurred in the past and the impact the action had. The SBI feedback model is also powerful as the initial stage is taking the individual back to a point in the past where the action occurred. This can help them to understand the context of the feedback and visualise what they were doing at the time.

Situation

The first part of the SBI feedback model is Situation. At this stage, we need to take the person back to the time when and where the action that we are feeding back on took place. This needs to be as specific as possible as we want the person to visualise where they were and what they were doing at the time. This will help to put the feedback into context.

You might say something like:

"This morning in our team meeting when we were talking about launching the new product"

Or

"When you spoke the last customer about their payment terms"

As you can see, we are avoiding vague statements such as 'earlier today' or 'in the team meeting'. The more specific you can be with the situation, the more likely they are to remember exactly where they were, what they were doing and how they were feeling.

Revolution Learning and development Leadership Skills training course - the SBI feedback model

Behaviour

The second stage of the SBI feedback model is Behaviour. Here we are going to describe the actions or behaviour that was demonstrated that has led to the feedback. Like the previous section, we need to be as specific as possible. We do this by delivering 2 bits of information:

  1. What was the behaviour?
  2. What did they do specifically that causes you to think that this was the behaviour they were demonstrating?

You might say something like:

"I thought you were very aggressive (part 1). This is because you raised your voice, swore and banged your hands on the table (part 2)"

By describing the behaviour, we back up our thoughts with specifics.

Note the use of 'I thought you were...' rather than 'you were...'. This is because the feedback is our perception and therefore we must take ownership of the feedback. By saying just 'you were', we give the perception of blame.

Impact

The final stage of the SBI feedback model is Impact. During this stage, we should point out what we thought the impact of their actions were. The impact might be related to you, the team, other people, the customer or the business for example. As with the previous sections, this also needs to be specific and, following the same approach as Behaviour, Impact comes in 2 parts

  1. Who did it impact on and how?
  2. Why do you think this was the impact?

You might say something like:

"I think this had a negative impact on the team and the rest of the meeting (part 1) because no one seemed to want to raise anything else after that point in the meeting (part 2)"

We not only raise what the impact was but provide examples of the impact that we saw.

Once again, note the use of 'I think...' rather than' you...'.

Positive and Negative Feedback

You can use the SBI feedback model for both positive and negative feedback. The process is the same as described above. Providing positive feedback in this way is incredibly useful as the person who is receiving it will know exactly what they need to continue doing.

Further Learning

If you would like to learn more about the SBI Feedback model or providing effective feedback, you can find these subjects in a Leadership Skills training course. Take a look at Leadership Skills Training from our training partner, Revolution Learning and Development Ltd.

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