Sometimes you need to cross the gap between an employee's current and desired efforts. This post will help you build that bridge.
Providing effective feedback will increase individuals' impact, help build trust with the team, and reinforce your vision and values.
This and my next post* delve into giving and receiving feedback. Both skills require the courage to be candid and the confidence to be open.
Two Key Elements
For feedback to be effective, it must be candid and constructive.
Being sincere means getting to the core matters. Being constructive means that you truly helping someone develop, not masking an attack.
I worked in two different companies where I had to deliver feedback that people smelled really bad. Awkward for everyone.
The first time, I was too nervous to deliver the news. I asked their manager to intervene and it completely backfired. They felt attacked and I was a jerk.
When this issue came up again, I asked the person to meet. I acknowledged this is a tough topic, directly mentioned the problem, and offered just a couple notes. They thanked me, and it was fine afterwards.
The Situation and Person
The type of feedback (tone, delivery, and consequences) should recognize the circumstances and the recipient.
If someone skips a meeting because they worked all night to solve a problem, that is different than if someone skips a deadline for no reason.
I start by asking if someone recognizes the behavior as an issue (easier if they do) and if there is anything happening affecting their work right now.
Also, people process information differently, so you may be fine with a conversation with one person but need to write down the issue to another.
Know Your Purpose
When it comes to giving useful feedback, I put a lot of pressure on managers because I believe that unproductive behavior is often partially their fault.
If a manager is not clear on the objectives, work expected, and desired results, then I have a hard time blaming the person being managed.
When giving feedback, explain how the undesirable behavior impacts the team. Then share specific, measurable activities will show improvement.
After the feedback, you need to support the person by meeting frequently, giving resources or insights, and encouraging success in other ways.
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish
a man's growth without destroying his roots."
- Frank A. Clark
After a few weeks, check with people to let them know whether you’ve seen improvement or have more feedback.
Providing constructive feedback is extremely valuable to the success of a team, but it requires a significant investment of time and emotional energy.
Photo by Matthew Henry who can be found here
* The post "Get Productive Feedback?" can be found here
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