All employees know that receiving feedback from their supervisors and management is necessary in order to succeed on the job. Problem is, not every manager is good at dishing out feedback that can actually help an employee improve.
If your employees walk away from their performance reviews with a quizzical look on their faces and a vague notion of whether they’ve been doing a good job, well, that’s some feedback for you.
Being able to deliver effective, actionable feedback is an important skill to cultivate as a leader, one that helps boost both your team’s performance, as well as your own standing in the company. These tips can help you get better at giving feedback so your team can get better at doing their jobs.
Highlight good work when you see it
Feedback isn’t a synonym for complaint and it shouldn’t be reserved solely for pointing out mistakes. You have to show your team you appreciate a job well done by regularly calling out the good work they do.
When employee does something exceptional, it can be used as a teaching moment. When pointing out excellent work, make it clear which behaviours you want to see repeated. This not only build motivation and morale, it also helps reinforce expectations across the whole team.
Deliver feedback on the spot
Don’t wait for annual performance reviews to tell your employees how they’re doing. Whether people are exceeding your expectations or are missing the mark let your team know how you feel in the moment.
If they’re doing good work, there’s no sense in withholding your praise; if they’re not up to par, they still have time to change course while your feedback is fresh in their memory.
Your team cant’s deliver great work if they don’t actually know what you consider great – so tell them. Describe the actual behaviour you want to see. For instance, instead of saying, “You need to speak up more in meetings”, say, “In the marketing meeting this morning, you could have shared your idea about social media with the group.”
Don’t assume that anyone knows what you mean. You have to be explicit, especially with all of the cultural and generational differences in the workplace.
Provide a context for your requests
It’s not enough to tell people how to do something; you also need to explain why something should be done because employees need to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
So, when you share feedback about someone’s behaviour, connect it to the broader impact on the project, team or organization. It will make them feel like they’re a part of something more significant.
Outline a path for improvement
To be a good leader, you need to be a good teacher, and that includes not making assumptions about why people are falling short of your expectation. Work with them to get to the root cause of the issue, and develop a plan to address it.
Remind your team members that you want them to be successful in their positions; then help them come up with actionable plans to improve. Break the plan up into manageable parts so employees can demonstrate that they understand as they achieve each step.
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