How to Give Regular Feedback That is Effective and Promotes Growth
Feedback is a great tool for growth. When given correctly and effectively, it improves performance, enhances motivation, helps identify issues and resolve them, it builds trust and fosters stronger relationships. Feedback can and should be used in our professional and personal life, regularly.
“Know how to find the information and how to use it – that’s the secret of success.”
– Albert Einstein
Last month I was asked to work with my client on “how to give negative feedback to team members in a way that would promote thoughtful consideration and growth instead of resentment and hurt”. I asked: “Why only negative feedback? What about positive feedback?” “Well” – he said -“we are giving constructive feedback.”
They have received their 360-degree evaluation results and were dreading having to discuss the results with their teams. There were some low ratings and they feared the conversations were not going to go well. We decided to discuss their 360-feedback reviews as well as the importance of giving feedback regularly and timely, throughout the year, as events occur, as opposed to only once a year. It was a fun session.
Feedback has developed a bad name because it is usually thought of, given and received as “negative criticism of a person’s behavior”. That, ultimately, is seeing as a personal attack, and obviously, not received well. When not handled well, it can be demotivating, damaging to one’s confidence and paralyzing. The results? Some become obsessed with their feedback and focus on the wrong issues. Others ignore it or become very defensive. We don’t want any of that.
Feedback is the foundation of
communication in the workplace and life
It is essential for creating an engaged and motivated team. People want to know how they are doing and how they can do better. When given properly and timely, productive feedback is a valuable tool to identify issues and resolve them and to help improve and grow your workforce and your business.
Feedback is a conversation that helps people improve
When giving feedback is important to take into consideration the message, place, time and the way the information will be shared, as well as why you are giving the feedback. When giving feedback empathy, self-awareness and sensitivity will help you create a much more productive and effective conversation which will lead to self-examination, motivation, and support to cultivate change and growth.
Content and Quality
The most common mistake leaders make is to use the wrong words, focus on the weaknesses and fail to note strong points. It’s ok to show them their limits but we’ve got to celebrate their strengths! It can be demoralizing and unmotivating if all we hear is a negative review.
Start out with all of the positives and the growth you’ve seen so far. Then introduce the low points as temporary limitations that can be overcome with an understanding of where they are and where they need to be and a plan for learning and improving that will help them get there. This way, your employees will know you are on their side, cheering for their success.
Where to give feedback
Today’s office environments have a lot of open spaces. Some feedback is ok to be given in the open, others will be much better received in private. I am not only talking about “praise in the open, criticize in private”. Many introverts hate being praised in public. Take the time to learn your employees’ personalities and you will have better communication with them.
When to give feedback
Time is everything. Know when is the best time to communicate with your employees and communicate soon after the event has occurred. Use your empathy and you will see great results. Is your employee a morning or afternoon person? If you know he is an afternoon person, feedback given in the afternoon will be better received than one given first thing in the morning.
When you are attuned to your employees’ professional and personal life, you will know when he is having a bad day due to something outside the office and can hold off on that feedback for a day or two. Just don’t wait too long. Feedback should be given right after the event has occurred. It won’t be as effective if given 6 months later.
How to give feedback
In today’s highly technological world, some communication is totally appropriate done via email. If you know your employee preferred method of communication, feedback about a small incident, a call from a client, a mistake on a report, or something similar can be done via email. Of course, you would not email your employee’s 360-feedback review, you will have a face-to-face conversation. Use your best judgment here.
Why give feedback
Feedback is a great tool for growth. It can improve performance, enhance motivation as it helps formulate better decisions for learning and growth. For these reasons, feedback should be given regularly. In fact, research done by The NeuroLeadership Insitute has found that engagement is highest with weekly feedback. However, fewer than 20% of employees receive feedback weekly.
People want to do well. They want to improve and be a better version of themselves daily. They want to know that they are developing and growing and helping their organization improve and grow as well. Don’t wait until the end of the year to give feedback to your employees. Create a strategic plan for weekly or biweekly feedback. Be empathetic and intentional when giving feedback and you will have a more engaged and motivated team.
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