Giving and receiving regular feedback is an essential part of our work lives. But when negative feedback or criticism is involved, team leaders and managers need to use the right approach. In this article, we will discuss the right way to provide constructive feedback to your employees.
Giving feedback to employees the right way
Feedback doesn’t just aid in the personal growth of employees, it is also critical for the development of the company. Receiving constructive critique from colleagues and managers from time to time helps employees work on developing their skills, adopt helpful behaviours and habits, and align themselves towards common goals. Building a culture of respectful and regular feedback helps teams and organisations to flourish.
While positive feedback boosts morale and motivates people to do better at work, negative feedback or criticism can get a bit tricky to handle. But don’t worry. Here we outline some effective (and easy) ways to give constructive feedback to employees.
Bring in change through constructive feedback
- Explain why the feedback is being given
… and also elaborate on how it will help your colleague develop themselves. The feedback will be more acceptable and likely to be implemented when it is given with an aim. The reasoning clarifies the motive and enables employees to understand how bringing this change will improve their performance at work. Ultimately, don’t we all want to do well?
2. Give growth-oriented and genuine feedback
Feedback for the sake of it should be avoided. Make sure your assessment encourages growth and development because only then will change occur. It is really easy to identify when feedback is not genuine or insincere. A message such as “You always submit your work late” is not helpful. When you want your opinion to create an impact, be specific and clear.
Here’s an example: “The last three assignments you submitted had crossed the deadline. As a result, your team leader could not go through them on time and had to make the delivery without a final check. I do understand that sometimes delays are unavoidable. However, I would really appreciate it if you can try to be punctual or inform me beforehand about any delays so that we can prepare ourselves in time. This helps us mitigate any issues.”
Check out these tips to create a positive workplace culture.
3. Create a growth pathway for the person
When you want your employees to make certain specific changes, merely providing feedback is not enough. Help them assess themselves and provide resources to aid in their growth. For instance, if someone lacks communication skills, connect them with a coach or mentor – either within the organisation or an external resource – who can help them develop the necessary skills. Track their progress and ask them what else you can do to help them on their journey.
4. Be consistent with feedback
Any task completion should be immediately followed with feedback (if any). Delays between completion and feedback have reduced the impact on the person receiving the feedback. For best results, give instant feedback to employees so that they can work on the highlighted issues while they are still fresh in memory.
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5. Be specific
Clarity brings results. So, make sure your feedback is as specific as possible. If it’s about a task your employee has done, point out (precisely) the areas that can be improved, and mention how you would approach the task in a different way.
While it is important to advise your employees, make sure you also leave ample space for self-paced growth. Allow them the time and space to figure things out by themselves. This pushes them towards proactive change, which is what feedback is really for.
6. Deliver negative feedback with a positive touch
Whether or not your company has a flat hierarchy, it is important to be compassionate towards your employees. So exercise caution when handing out feedback. Remember that mistakes are not excuses to trade insults or look down on others. Mistakes are lessons from which we all can learn. Adopting the approach of solving problems as a team can boost morale and change the way negative feedback is perceived by your colleagues.
7. Take into account the person’s problems, if any
When giving feedback, take into consideration the personal challenges the employee might be facing. Be kind with your words. Sometimes a few words of encouragement can leave a lasting impact on the person’s life.
Here’s a useful write-up on how you can practice kindness in your workplace.
8. Use different methods to provide feedback to your employees
Emails, text messages or phone calls may be quicker methods of getting your message across, but they are not always ideal when it comes to giving feedback. Sometimes the best option is to meet face-to-face either in the office or over a video call if you’re working remotely.
Also, feedback doesn’t necessarily have to be excessively formal. If appropriate, grab a coffee with your colleague or meet them at a neutral location, if you think it might help the process.
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Don’t forget that any change that is not reinforced will either be forgotten or lose its impact in the long run. So, encourage your employees to embrace change and reward them for doing so. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary – they can also be in the form of verbal praise and assessments on how the changes they made have helped the project or team.
This was our take on how to give feedback to employees. We hope this blog helps you as a leader or team manager. For more such content, keep following Manah Wellness blogs.