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The traffic light framework

Read this article about the Traffic Light framework for giving feedback.
© University of Southern Queensland

The Traffic Light framework works well because it allows you to deliver different types of advice at the same time.

The traffic light framework graphic

Note: there is a description of this image in the downloads section.

This framework has been called the traffic light approach to feedback because it focuses on three levels of feedback.

1. Red [stop]

When using this framework, begin giving feedback with the red light. The thing that needs to stop or be corrected. The key is to be direct, honest and provide specific details and facts when giving the feedback. Also be clear about what is needed to fix the issue.

2. Yellow [caution]

Then move on to sharing the yellow light feedback. This is the warning. This relates to things that the person might be doing that they need to be fixed or changed. Nothing may be really wrong right now, however, the idea is to sound the alarm in a way that the person can make a correction now before it turns into a red-light kind of situation.

3. Green [continue]

Finally, it’s time to go to the green light. This is about how the person is doing something well and achieving what you expected and beyond. Maybe it’s complimenting them on a job well done. This is to encourage the person to do more while also balancing some of the more corrective feedback that was shared earlier in the conversation. The idea is that the combination of feedback will hopefully resonate with the person receiving the feedback and they will not become as defensive as if only red-light type of feedback was shared.

© University of Southern Queensland
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A Beginner’s Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback

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