Employees feedback is essential for informing your staff about how they’re doing and what’s expected of them, as well as aiding their development and learning. It’s critical that this feedback occurs on a frequent, continuous basis, rather than only at performance reviews.
So, as a manager or team leader, how should you accept constructive feedback that addresses issues or flaws that need to be addressed?
Here are ten suggestions to assist employees to keep up the good job or improve their skills.
problem-oriented and specific in your approach
Explaining why something could be done better is a vital aspect of telling an employee what they could do better. For example, opening a conversation with ‘You need to be getting to work sooner’ presume the employee understands the importance of timeliness. Instead, be specific about the issue at hand – which in this example could be that clients are being kept waiting – and organize your criticism around it.
The employee may not have all of the background or context for a problem. Therefore, if necessary, explain how well the problem affects you and the rest of the company. The more specific your input is, the more actionable it will be.
Discuss the problem rather than the individual
Effective criticism, by definition, focuses on outcomes and objective observations, rather than the employee’s personal characteristics. Individual-centered feedback could be interpreted as an attack motivated by personal feelings rather than objective facts. By focusing on the circumstance rather than your personal view of it, you demonstrate that you are primarily concerned with resolving the issue at hand rather than insulting the worker’s individuality.
Give credit where credit is due
Giving optimistic feedback to staff is also important – and recognizing positives among difficulties might be a smart approach to reassure them that you haven’t lost perspective. ‘I think you did a terrific job with this account — sales are up 13 percent since last quarter,’ for example. However, a few consumers have informed us that response times have increased.’ This communicates to the individual that you are not criticizing their entire performance, but rather that some elements of their job require attention. Just be careful not to exaggerate the positives, as this might make you appear untrustworthy or fake.
Be direct while remaining informal
Avoid using technology to transmit your input, such as email, text message, or phone, as this can lead to misinterpretation and make it appear less essential than it is. It’s preferable to speak in person, at a quiet place where you can have an open and honest one-on-one conversation with the employee. If that isn’t possible, a phone or video chat may be the best option if that is how you normally communicate.
While it’s important to be informal, it’s also important not to waste time – feedback of any kind is most useful when it’s brief and to the point.
If your tone and approach do not correspond to the context of the feedback, you may send a mixed message that confuses your employee. If the report is positive, let your emotions show that you value their efforts. When responding to negative comments, a more worried tone indicates that you believe the issue should be handled seriously. Above all, avoid showing negative emotions such as rage, sarcasm, or disappointment.
When providing constructive feedback, make sure your employee has an opportunity to respond. It should be two-way communication between you two. This demonstrates that you are willing to listen to their worries and interpretations of events. It also provides an opportunity for employees to share their opinions.
Make sure it’s timely
It is ideal to give appreciation when an employee’s accomplishment is still fresh in their mind. Immediacy is also necessary for negative criticism unless an employee has done something that truly makes you feel bad. In that scenario, you should probably wait until you’ve ‘cooled off’ before bringing it up with them. This will help to guarantee that your feedback is objective and free of emotional bias. The most effective constructive feedback focuses on behavior or situations rather than persons and personalities. It is delivered in a supportive and respectful tone and setting. Great constructive criticism assists employees in recognizing and avoiding mistakes, as well as inspiring them to reach their full potential.
Finish the discussion by deciding on the next step and a topic for a future discussion. Follow up and offer assistance to help the employee achieve the goals you’ve set together. Keep a note of these conversations and think about including them in the employee’s annual performance evaluation. This helps in tracking your progress.
Finally, remember that we all thrive on positive reinforcement, so don’t assume that employees will always know when they’re doing well – tell them. Giving ongoing feedback to employees, whether good or slightly negative, is one of the most significant and potent employee development tools at your disposal.