Businesses have institutionalized the practice of giving and receiving feedback. When shared in the right manner, feedback can enhance performance. Employees need to know the areas where they are doing well and those where they could improve. The challenge, of course, is delivering feedback in a way that empowers people instead of putting them on the defensive.
Follow these tips for giving constructive feedback and to make your employees feel valued:
Focus on the positive
If you start with negative feedback, people could instantly shut down. Let employees know what they are doing right and how they are contributing to the company. If something negative needs to be addressed, the old sandwich approach is still relevant. Start with a positive, end with a positive, and address challenges in between.
Don’t beat around the bush
People’s shortcomings may be obvious to you, but they may simply not see what they are doing wrong. Be very specific when you give feedback, delineating problematic behaviors and how they affect the workplace environment. You should also spell out specific ways that the person can change their problematic behaviors.
Deliver feedback promptly
If a problematic event arises at work, meet with the employees who were involved as soon as possible. Feedback is more effective when given shortly after issues develop.
Giving feedback is not a once a year thing. It should be shared often, whether through a formal feedback session or informal discussion. If you only give feedback once a year, it may be viewed more as a criticism than feedback. If you offer it regularly, people may feel like it is a standard part of an ongoing mentoring process.
Make it personal
Give the feedback from your own perspective. Use the “I” statement instead of saying
“according to.” Feedback carries more weight when it comes directly from an employer or supervisor than from a third party.
After you deliver feedback, set up a follow-up meeting. You may say, “Why don’t you focus on (suggestion for improved performance), and we can meet again in 30 days to see how things are going.”