Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Have you given any feedback lately?
Alright, let’s be honest – giving feedback is not the easiest task for some managers. They might feel feedback is not only confrontational, but can be pretty awkward. Many managers might think feedback is about criticizing their staff, and so they dread the entire feedback process.
However, you can’t avoid feedback. A vital management function is to provide ongoing, honest feedback about each team member’s performance. It is your job as the manager to let your team know how they are doing and what steps they can take to improve. Problems that are addressed early can be more easily resolved than those that are identified later.
But don’t think feedback must always be negative. It is equally important, if not more essential, to also provide positive feedback to your staff. Remember your team is working day in and day out and if they aren’t receiving any feedback, they will be unsure of how they are perceived and if their work is even appreciated.
Think about your management style in the past few months; have you given any feedback – good or bad to your staff? If not, you may not be adequately monitoring the performance of your team members so that you can give appropriate feedback in a timely manner.
Perhaps if you take the initiative of giving both positive and negative feedback, maybe you won’t be so reluctant to give feedback.
Feedback is useful year-round, not just at appraisal time. When you provide frequent and accurate assessments of how people are performing in their roles, you feedback will be perceived to be timely and can be linked to an established performance plan. We posted a while back about how feedback really is a gift. People will value your feedback and find it relevant to their job responsibilities.
Here are some tips to remember:
- Be specific when giving feedback. Vague feedback such as “You need to improve” is useless. Specifically, what needs to be improved? What have you noticed that was being done poorly? What does the person need to do differently? How will you and the person know improvement has occurred?
- Make feedback performance-related and combine it with suggestions for improvement.
- Give positive feedback as soon as possible after good performance. Make it specific so the person knows exactly what behavior you are praising. When criticism is necessary, make it private, constructive, and express confidence in the person’s ability to improve.
- In addition to giving feedback, solicit feedback from your direct reports about how you can improve your own performance. Listen carefully to what was said, and thank people for taking the time to give you feedback.
- Review progress on their development plans and on their career planning. If there are stumbling blocks, ask: “What do you need to successfully meet this goal?” Do your best to provide what they need.
When handled the correct way, feedback is not a scary or intimidating process. We promise. Let us know how you approach giving feedback.
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net