Great leaders have a unique ability to provide constructive feedback to their workers. In fact, this is one factor that makes them respected and loved in the organization. When delivered properly, feedback can not only correct negative performances but also reinforce positive behavior.
The problem is that not all managers are willing to provide negative feedback. They fear it may not be well accepted by an employee, and it may cause conflicts between them and their workers. Don’t fall into this trap! To make sure you offer feedback that will boost your team’s performance, follow these tips:
Communicate in a caring manner
There is nothing wrong with telling people about their mistakes as long as you are doing it because you care. If you don’t want to offend anyone with your feedback, you have to be clear from the start why you need to say what you have to say. Be sure that your employee understands that your intention is to help him or her grow and not to embarrass or hurt them.
Asking permission is important, too
Before you offer suggestions or feedback, ask your employee for permission. You can simply ask, “Can I talk to you for a second about something?” or “Can I share with you some of my observations regarding your work?” By asking permission, you are letting your team member know that you’ve got something in mind that may help him or her improve their work. As a result, he is more likely to be open-minded with the way he approaches your suggestion.
Avoid the negatives
Refrain from using negative statements or phrases that may discourage people. Negative language forces people to be defensive and unwilling to accept feedback. Instead, use words or phrases that are encouraging. For instance, you can say, “What if we did something like this…?”
Be very specific
Giving your team member vague feedback won’t help at all. Remember that the purpose of your feedback is to give them an idea of what they are doing wrong, so you need to be specific about what changes they need to make. Don’t forget to offer clear suggestions on how they can do things differently and better.
Do not delay giving feedback
Give feedback right after you’ve made an observation. You shouldn’t wait for a month after an incident to call the attention of your team member. Addressing an issue as soon as possible is always the right thing to do as it increases your chances of getting positive response to your feedback.
Be sure to pick the right place
You need to identify the right place and time where you can discuss the matter with your colleague. You may have the conversation in your office, or you may also have it over lunch. What really matters is that you find a place that is private and a place where you will not have to worry about others hearing your conversation.
In any executive coaching program, managers are taught how to offer feedback to their employees properly. Follow these tips the next time you have to offer feedback, and your employees will likely feel thankful to you.