Feedback is crucial for helping employees grow, but simply mentioning the word can make some people defensive. Feedback is often confused with criticism, causing employees to tune out advice and potentially straining relationships.
Sometimes the most well-intentioned advice can sound like judgment when presented incorrectly. Make sure your feedback is effective by following these tips.
1) Find the appropriate time.
Letting someone know how poorly his presentation is going during the presentation is embarrassing for everyone. Create time for a one-on-one meeting away from distractions to have a calm and productive conversation (not a lecture). Don’t wait too long – in six weeks, you and the employee may have already forgotten what happened.
2) Create a safe space.
Begin by asking the employee how she feels she is doing, especially surrounding the particular event or project. Use that answer to get a sense of whether she is open to further discussion. It’s
possible the employee already knows what needs improvement and will welcome suggestions.
You may not always be the right person to have the conversation. An immediate supervisor, or someone the employee has a good working relationship with, might be the best choice.
3) Remain constructive, not critical.
Before talking to the employee, ask yourself why you want to provide feedback. Do you think it will ultimately help this person in his role, and help the company improve? Or does he just do things differently than you? Feedback is effective when it is in service of a larger goal. Frame the conversation as advice that will help this person succeed in the future.
4) Be specific.
After constructively discussing what happened, provide an example of what the ideal situation looks like. If the employee is receptive, walk through how it might go in the future. You can also help the employee create a specific goal to work towards in the future.
5) Stay positive.
The purpose of feedback is not to make an employee feel bad. Remind her of her strengths, and how those strengths can be complemented with new skills. Always conclude by noting something positive about the event requiring feedback.
It can be difficult to determine how people will react to feedback. Many people will apply it and grow, but some may ignore it. Create a culture that values feedback and promotes positive and constructive learning opportunities.
by Christine Kelly
CEO and Queen Bee | Viral Solutions LLC
Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC