There is no place more filled with diverse opinions and processes for achieving a given result than in the workplace. For continuous productivity, this makes it necessary for managers and organizational leaders to rein in the actions of their teams with relevant feedback and support. Whether it be to correct a mistake or to avoid one, feedback is important for developing and advancing talents. But not all methods of giving feedback are reliable, as some methods could produce negative results. What are the right ways to provide feedback, then? Let’s discuss them:
Ask for the recipient’s permission.
Yes, you are their manager, but every employee deserves to be treated with respect at all times. Therefore, a simple “Hello, can you spare a minute or two for some feedback?” can go a long way in preparing the employee for what is coming in a relaxed manner. Ambushing employees with feedback or giving them feedback in public can be counterintuitive and may defeat the purpose.
Be specific about your observations.
Generally, we react better to specific examples of our actions. On this premise, great feedback should start with specific examples of the action which the input is being directed at. While doing this, avoid sounding judgmental, ambiguous or subjective. Instead, apply a positive and objective stance, as this is generally acceptable because it encourages people to see things from your point of view.
Explain the impact of that specific behaviour
By explaining the impact of that specific behaviour, you are opening the employee’s mind to diverse interpretations of their actions and guiding them to a reasonable conclusion about the necessity of the feedback session. At this point, you can be reasonably subjective with phrases like “I noticed that” or “I felt that”, as this communicates that this is your personal opinion. This makes it difficult for those opinions to be argued with or for the feedback to turn into a debate or argumentative session.
Ask for the employee’s opinion on the discussion.
Making it a two-way conversation gives them time to think through everything you’ve said and react to it. This also allows you to know if the employee understood all you’ve said as you intended to communicate, without anything being lost in translation. A dialogue-style feedback session can create an open and honest work environment that fosters the improvement of performance and behaviour, and can encourage each employee to speak with honesty and frankness.
Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.