The words you choose will matter. Practice what you’re going to say and how you plan to say it - and even consider rehearsing with a trusted partner. Your attitude, the accuracy of what you say, and the care with which you say it, may matter as much as the details you will say.
When you offer feedback, some (if not most) of it should be positive. Look for opportunities to praise success even as you offer suggestions for improvement. Celebrating performance can be valuable for everyone and is much more effective than criticising weaknesses. Don’t forget that dispensing encouragement is infectious.
It doesn’t make any sense telling someone they need to be “more punctual” or “more diplomatic.” Give examples and specific suggestions for improvement. Replace “you need to be more punctual” with “let’s keep track of what time we start our weekly staff meetings in the coming month and then talk about how it went.”
Don’t use offensive language. Labeling someone “lazy" or “inept" will always come back to bite you. And never shout, stand or be animated. People will recall how they felt, not what you said; so limit down the drama as much as possible.
Encourage regular and informal assessment. Don’t just limit feedback to annual performance reviews where you gather people into a conference room. Instead, agree with your team to offer (and accept) real-time tweaks to enhance performance. Indeed, the best opportunities for this are when you “catch people in the moment” - when you can point out a missed cue or a better way a situation could have been handled. Make talking about “how we’re doing” regular and easy.
Sometimes, you may need to let someone know that unless they change something that is deemed improper, their job may be at risk. If so, be direct. Let them know if something is getting in the way of their professional development, and that it could lead to dismissal if not addressed. If this feedback is offered encouragingly – along with a plan to follow up – it can lead to improvement.
Feedback sessions are private. Refrain from sharing the conversation with someone else because you’re striving to help the person and the organization. Believe me, nothing good will come from sharing one person’s issues with another. The aim is to build a culture where people feel confident about sharing feedback without the fear that it will be taken personally. Honest, thoughtful feedback is an important and valuable tool for building a good team and a good business.
It’s usually not easy to hear our shortcomings, whether from our boss or people within our family circle. And telling others how they can improve is not comfortable for them either. Feedback can agitate all sorts of self-doubt, defensiveness and career worries.
However, feedback should not be regarded as a way to highlight others’ weaknesses; in contrast, it’s all about helping them remove those stumbling blocks that prevent them from building on their strengths. That is why feedback is called “the breakfast of champions”.
Functioning without feedback is nothing less than driving a car with no speedometer. Many firms though fail to train teams on how to give feedback. Consequently, many of their workers remain without a clear plan for improvement.
If you haven’t yet realized how much of a blessing feedback is please do so! It can dramatically transform your company and your personnel and help you pioneer. Check out the next 7 tips on how to give feedback properly.