Providing constructive feedback to employees about their performance is an essential skill that every supervisor needs in order to be effective. The purpose of giving feedback is to improve performance and assist the employee in fully understanding their job position and responsibilities.
It is recognized that feedback directs behavior and motivates performance. Without feedback, it can be difficult for the employee to progress and may lead to disruptive or poor work performance that can have a negative impact on the entire organization.
Ideally, the more immediate the feedback, the better impact it will have. By providing feedback as soon as possible after the event or during the progress of the work, both the manager and employee will be able to recall the performance and circumstances, allowing them to discuss and rectify problems promptly and effectively.
Why is it that many supervisors procrastinate about providing feedback to their employees although they know that giving and receiving honest feedback is essential to the growth and development of the company? Perhaps it is because they think that feedback means criticism. Or maybe it’s because no one likes conflict and most will walk a mile to avoid it. For others, it’s because they have not learned how to effectively provide feedback.
Providing clear and constructive feedback requires courage and skill, and is essential to building good relationships with employees. When supervisors learn how to effectively offer feedback, the results can be amazing! Here are six tips to help make the process more positive and less painful.
1. Be proactive. Don’t wait until things have gotten out of hand and you are stressed out over an employee’s performance, behavior or attitude. By promptly nipping issues in the bud, you can avoid messy interpersonal conflicts that result from neglected communication.
2. Be respectful. No one likes to be yelled at, scolded or “talked at.” While it’s important to offer constructive criticism, it’s just as important to listen, ask questions, and participate in a two-way conversation. Through respectful information-sharing dialogue, both parties will benefit and can depart the meeting with their ego in tact.
3. Acknowledge proper performance. While it can be easy to criticize, human beings have a tendency to “shut down” when they are on the receiving end. Every employee has at least one thing they are doing right. Praise them for the good work before focusing on performance that needs improvement.
4. Offer advice. It’s never easy to provide negative feedback regarding someone’s work, but as a leader you can’t avoid it. When discussing performance that needs to be improved, experts advise that you’ll obtain better results when you offer advice, tips, or techniques that can help the employee improve. Be as clear as possible when providing feedback (both positive and negative). Give specific examples that illustrate your points.
5. Develop a plan. Be clear about the changes that you expect in a specific period of time and schedule a follow-up meeting to track performance goals.
6. Strengthen performance. Reinforce the value of your employees’ contributions by giving specific examples of how their work and positive behaviors serve the organization and its customers.
These are just a few of the things to consider before providing performance feedback to employees. Providing continuous feedback will ensure that nothing is missed and will keep the lines of communication open.