Feedback is a gift, they say, and it’s one of the most powerful tools in your skills toolkit as you grow as a manager and a leader. It’s important to know when to give feedback and how to do so in an effective and constructive way.
There are a few rules that you should observe here in order to make this effective:
1. Always be specific rather than making sweeping statements.
Refer to a specific (recent) occasion, a particular action in order to focus the discussion on a tangible case.
2. Describe the behaviour rather than evaluating it.
Express what you have observed, and how that makes you feel, rather than making a judgment on whether a particular behaviour is good or bad.
3. Focus on the behaviour rather than the person.
A person cannot change who they are but they can change the way in which they behave so focus on that specific way of acting.
4. sure you’re giving feedback for the right reason.
Think of what the effect will be on your relationship with the person receiving the feedback, and make sure that you’re not simply venting your frustration but rather that you’re giving constructive input.
5. Praise in public, criticise in private.
If you’re giving negative feedback, make sure that you do so in a confidential 1:1 setting; you don’t want to be screaming at your report so everyone can hear you! If on the other hand you have positive things to say by all means do say in front of the team.
Here are six things to think about before you decide to have that conversation.
1. Do it when you are calm and unemotional.
Yelling and banging your fist on the desk may get short term results but rarely fixes the underlying problem. Stay calm, make it a conversation.
2. Do it sooner rather than later.
The longer you wait, the more you miss an opportunity to fix something before it gets any further off track. As soon as you can, take a deep breath, and get it done.
3. Do it privately.
People generally don’t appreciate being criticized in public – it’s a hit on their esteem, puts them on the defensive, and makes it harder to have an open discussion.
4. Focus on the behavior (not the person).
Anything that sounds like a personal attack will immediately bring up the defensive shields; keep your focus on the actions that can be changed.
5. Identify the specific problem or concern.
Saying, “your work stinks” doesn’t give him anything to go on. It’s more helpful if you can state what specifically needs to be addressed.
6.ID impact on the team/mission.
Be able to state specifically why the behavior is hurting the team. This keeps the discussion focused on the mission, as it should be.