Not so easy. Giving feedback is a skill. And like all skills, it takes practice to make it work.
Your direct reports who simply ‘get you’ and remind you of just how you were at their age, are the easy ones. But what about the employees you have taken pains to recruit and onboard, who just don’t seem to be stepping up?
How do you provide them with the feedback that they need to further develop or change their ways? How do you deliver this message in a way which inspires and facilitates them to feel even more empowered to do better?
First and foremost, always be clear on your reason for giving feedback, whether you’re giving it to someone you supervise as a part of your supervisory responsibilities or to a new recruit. It goes without saying that feedback should never be used to benefit you but rather always to serve the person to whom you’re giving it.
Identify any self-centred agendas you may have—e.g., making your position more secure, or heightening your own success—and ruthlessly cast them aside.
Feedback is a process that requires constant attention. When something needs to be said, say it. People then know where they stand all the time and there will be few surprises. However, take the time to understand your audience. Different generational segments prefer feedback given in different ways, formal, Informal, casual or direct. Chose your frequency and style wisely.
Giving feedback is ultimately about mentoring. A truly great mentor always seeks to make his or her employees better than themselves and utilizes feedback as a tool to do it. With that in mind:
Here are a few simple tips from the experts –
1.Be specific – Try to describe specific behaviours you have observed, don’t just generalize.
2. Describe the effect of the behaviour you have observed. When it is positive, acknowledge the benefits. When it is not acceptable, try to describe why the behaviour is unacceptable ie . how it is affecting other workers, clients, or your organization’s reputation.
3. Use evidence and examples – when you can provide evidence or examples of a person’s behaviour and its effect, it allows a clear objective and ensures a focus on finding solutions, rather than debating whether the problem actually exists.
3. Be Timely – Feedback is for an observed behaviour, provide the feedback as close to the time of the event as possible. Feedback is far less effective if it is received as a surprise .
4. Make sure the feedback is correctly comprehended and is not misinterpreted. Check for understanding with ‘clarifying’ and ‘confirming’ questioning techniques
If your employee can paraphrase back what they have understood, it will cement the feedback, and ensure that the feedback you are providing will produce the desired results.
5. Focus on improvements not just negativities. –
Because we are so time poor in our roles or businesses, we often fail to notice when things are running smoothly. Problems always attract attention. This means it is easy to focus on the negative aspects of an employee’s performance or contribution, rather than acknowledge all the tasks and responsibilities they are performing well or succeeding in.
6. Consistency – Ensure that you have the same standards for all of your team. Sometimes it’s easy to allow a different standard for one team member than another or reward an action one day and criticize it the next.
How much will your team love working with you or in your business if they feel supported, guided and empowered?
My tip? – Remember – the camera is always rolling!