Feedback is an essential part of the workplace. It’s in fact a recognized leadership tool with proven success records. The feedback process is all about letting the employee know where he/she stands in their performance. Good or bad. Employees that receive feedback on their performance tend to be more engaged in their work and more perceptible to change whenever necessary. It’s also a proven stress reliever. When you know where you are at the workplace, it’s easier to take the necessary measures to improve the situation. However, how do you avoid failing into the trap of a bad feedback session. If there’s one constant in all humans, it’s the fact it’s hard to hear about our faults. To help you navigate the ups and downs of giving feedback to employees, here are a few tips.
It’s easy to tell someone how good they are doing but it’s another to tell an employee that they are doing something wrong. Even if said employee is truly bad at their job or even its tiny mistakes. Plan it wrong and it’s a sure fire way to start the blueprints for a hostile work environment. To avoid negative feelings from invading your office, one thing you can do is to introduce the concept gradually and encourage employees to self-evaluate before you evaluate them. Like that, you’ve given them the chance to reflect on their performance.
Yes, this is obvious. Your feedback should be about the person your reviewing. However, you also want to let the other person know that the feedback isn’t just your personal opinions about the person. So, a good rule of thumb, is to let the person know about a time you’ve received feedback and why you’ve found it to be valuable. This signals that this is a conversation not a monologue that’s about them and they’re not allowed to participate.
Specific constructive feedback
Feedback, even if positive, can backfire if it’s general. For instance: “You’re doing great! But you’re not editing your work!” could mean a million different things to the person hearing it. Well maybe not a million, but your message is up for interpretation. This is never good. Instead if you’re specific like in this example:
“ I really like how you’ve improved the past month. Especially that marketing strategy you came up with really helped us secure more deals. Thank you! However, sometimes when you focus on the big picture you tend to miss out tiny details that make the difference. Like the strategy you came up with had grammatical errors. Next time, please proofread before you send it to the clients. I can make sure that the IT team installs an editing software if need be”
This way the listener can do something about the feedback. You’ve given them real actionable points. They can take steps to improve and feel proud of their achievements.
Face to Face Conversations
When you send feedback in the form of emails, it’s a lot harder to gauge how they’ve received their feedback. It’s also colder. So it’s always best to do it face to face. More importantly, when you close the feedback sessions remember to ask them how they felt about the sessions. This way, you build rapport with them. Even if the feedback weighed more on the negative side, you’ve given them a chance to explain themselves.
Feedback is a hard but very essential process that helps employees feel valued and sets them on a path of self-growth. Let us know how do you’re feedback sessions go?