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Giving Feedback that is Heard and Understood

August 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Pict 3I know we don’t like to do it, and it’s not easy, but giving your employees feedback about their performance is one of the most important things a manager can do.  When you let people know what they need to do differently in order to improve and be more likely to succeed, you’re helping them, yourself, and the organization.

So how do you make sure the feedback you give is heard and understood by your employees?  I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to be straightforward, give examples, and document (and you should do all of these things).  But there is a little more to it giving effective feedback than a well-rehearsed speech.  As someone who has both given and received a lot of feedback – I’ve even asked for more – I have a few tips on how to make your feedback effective to your employees.

Give them the Good and the Bad – All feedback is not negative.  It is just as important to tell your employees when they are doing something really well as it is to tell them when they are not.  This is only going to become more important as the next generation enters the workforce.  This new generation has been raised with positive reinforcement, and expect to receive it when they are doing a good job.  If you don’t give positive feedback, they may not know they are doing a good job.

Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself – When the time comes to give negative feedback you need to stop focusing on yourself.  It’s hard to confront someone with what the mistakes they have made, and it makes us feel anxious and frustrated and uncomfortable.  But it isn’t about you!  If you want to do what is best for your employees and your organization, stop focusing on your feelings and focus on your employee.  Sometimes managers get so caught up in their own feelings when giving negative feedback they lose sight of what they are doing; they are helping someone to improve.  And that’s a good thing!

Dish It Out Continuously – No one should ever be surprised by their performance evaluation.  (This is one of my biggest pet peeves!)  If you give feedback throughout the year, it’s going to make an annual evaluation much easier – both you and your employee already know the ups and downs of the year.  You are just going to state them a bit more formally during the evaluation.  If this is something you are not used to, force yourself to make it a habit; have weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with your employees where you discuss what is going well and what isn’t going well. 

Categories: Human Resource Consulting.