Some weeks ago, I talked about how to receive feedback by seeing it as a gift towards growth. The flip side is when you have to give feedback. If you are a manager or hoping to be one, then this is a good time as any to develop skills on effectively giving feedback. Here are my tips to help you along.
Rich: Ever been given feedback and felt ‘I wonder what that meant? This is the case when the feedback is ‘woolly’; a jumble of nice words that offer nothing practical or specific to go on. Feedback must be rich and real with specific examples. For example, rather than say ‘great presentation’ say ”Great presentation, it was concise, was structured and delivered confidently’.
Regular: Most people give feedback long after ‘the event’. Don’t wait till the annual performance evaluation to give your staff feedback. Ã‚Â Don’t make it haphazard either. Have a plan that enables you make time to let your people know how they are doing, say once a month or more frequently if necessary. Don’t become a slave to your schedule. If a situation requires to be dealt with now, tackle it.
Robust: Feedback should not be fuzzy. ‘I like the way you dealt with that situation, good job’ doesn’t help the recipient know exactly what was good. Saying ‘I observed how well you handled that difficult customer. You were calm, listened attentively and offered solutions’ is more specific and helps the person identify the behaviours and skills that made them effective.
Relevant: The type of feedback that is most helpful is often tied to what your team members are working on. Ã‚Â Be balanced, don’t just talk about the good things and pretend the not so positive doesn’t exist. Your job as a manager is to develop your staff and giving feedback that is relevant is part of that responsibility. It helps your staff know where they stand and how to succeed.
Remedial: Don’t use feedback to punish. It’s your opportunity to have a ‘coaching’ conversation with your people. Don’t point out their weaknesses and take a ‘fix this on your own approach.’ Find out from the person what they think they can do to get better and together map out plans for improvement.
Reviving: Feedback must encourage more of what a person is doing well, motivate them to rise higher and generally instigate higher levels of performance. So be honest and forward looking in your intentions and positive your approach to the process. Remember; the aim is to shape and to develop.
Reciprocal: As the manager, you need to face the fact that your own style of management impacts on how people perform. If you’re giving feedback during a performance evaluation, use the opportunity to get feedback about your own manager style. You could ask for example ‘How have I helped you to achieve xxx?’ of ‘How can I support you better to xxx? Ã‚Â That way, you both benefit.
Now take action: List 3 ways to improve your feedback skills; practice them.