Giving feedback is the most direct and critical approach to enhance the performance of employees – and the most hated one. Many managers state that providing feedback can be even harder than firing people, management coach Erika Anderson recentlyrevealed on forbes.com. It’s one of the toughest tasks we have to face in business. Another fact is that only 37 percent of US employees think they’ve been given useful feedback from their supervisor (Cornerstone OnDemand Research 2012).
Why are we so reluctant in telling colleagues or employees our opinion about their actions? First, we are afraid of what comes next. After firing an employee, he or she is gone. But after frank review, we have to continue work well together. Furthermore, the judge is often anxious about emotional reactions in review situations.
To avoid that your feedback conversation will end up in an emotional disaster and will be useful, too, we provide you with some helpful tips:
1) Explain your comments
For your employee or coworker, it’s important to know the background of your opinion to deal with – especially – negative feedback. Thus, he or she has the opportunity to reflect the situation.
2) Start and end with positive remarks (sandwich technique)
With this strategy, you increase the chance that your notes are actually heard. No one likes to get negative feedback, but it’s easier to accept it when you hear nice words first. Additionally, your counterpart will have a better feeling, leaving the conversation with a positive part in mind.
3) Focus on the essential
Avoid fighting about every little thing – you’re on the same team! Focus on issues which are not just a matter of taste but real mistakes and wrong decisions.
4) Be precise, but not personal
To create your feedback effectively, adapt your notes to the particular situation you want to criticize instead of downgrading a person’s character. For example: “I mentioned you came late to work yesterday” instead of “You have a bad attitude.”
5) And last but not least: Give feedback as often as you can!
Most feedback receivers complain about the fact that the appraisal takes place too long after the particular performance has occurred. The once or twice a year evaluation is a model of the past. To give your employees orientation and to accelerate the performance process, you have to provide them with duly response. Involve, for instance, your feedback into routine meetings, memos and Conceptboard.