Feedback is essential for everyone. Whether it’s the expressions your crowd gives you during a speech or someone providing ways you can improve, feedback encourages and motivates us. Unfortunately, it can also be damaging if not presented properly. As a manager, it’s incredibly important to provide your employees with feedback in a constructive, productive, and effective way. Here’s how you can do just that.
Prepare for the conversation
Positive feedback can be offered spontaneously right then and there. You don’t want to wait to acknowledge their good work because then they can feel overlooked. If the feedback you need to provide is more constructive, you want to prepare for the conversation. This allows you to consider your words and plan for the right way to say everything. Failing to do this could mean you respond in emotion or without careful word choice, leading to hurt feelings and confusion.
Don’t sandwich the negative
When you’re planning your conversation, avoid what some feel is a tried and true method of delivering negative feedback: the sandwich. You start with something good, place something not as good in the middle, and end on a high note. Many view this as a soft way to provide feedback while still acknowledging their good work, but in reality, it actually diminishes the good and muddles the bad. Be forthright with what you need to say to avoid confusion.
Avoid waiting until scheduled times
With feedback, there’s always the temptation to wait until review time. They’re already expecting feedback, so why rush? All this means is that while you wait, potential problems persist. You’ve lost time to improve because you didn’t want to have another conversation.
Throughout this process, you are their partner. Your goal isn’t to tell them what they’re doing poorly and say fix it. Nor is it your job to fix it for them. The role you play is in the middle. You explain the issue, ask them about ways to improve and work alongside them in the process. You definitely don’t abandon them and hope for the best.
Focus on behaviors
Essentially, keep it on what they’ve done instead of who they are. Personalities clash and you won’t necessarily love everyone you supervise, but your job isn’t to judge their character. Stay focused on their performance to avoid any unnecessary criticism sneaking in that can cause damage.
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