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6 easy ways to give better feedback

6 easy ways to give better feedback

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 9, 2013 7:55:30 AM / by Briana Songer

Briana Songer

When you hear the word 'Feedback', you might get a chill come over you. In many businesses, the manager simply saves up all the comments and turns it into an annual ''constructive criticism'' meeting. No one likes being told their weak spots or how to''do your job better''. It's not just the employee that feels uncomfortable, its the employer that does too. It's a shame since giving feedback should be important moments to help communicate and engage your team. Take a look at the following tips to learn how to do it right and improve performance.

When you hear the word 'Feedback', you might get a chill come over you. In many businesses, the manager simply saves up all the comments and turns it into an annual ''constructive criticism'' meeting. No one likes being told their weak spots or how to''do your job better''. It's not just the employee that feels uncomfortable, its the employer that does too. It's a shame since giving feedback should be important moments to help communicate and engage your team. Take a look at the following tips to learn how to do it right and improve performance.

Understand the Purpose

Simply, know the specific reason you are giving feedback and what outcome you want. It'll make things a more positive experience for everyone.
Timing
Give appropriate feedback as close to the event as possible. Otherwise the event won't be as memorable and may come across as mundane and insincere. Unless, of course...it's a highly emotional situation. Then, wait to make sure things have calmed down.
Consistent
Feedback shouldn't be given once a year. Feedback should be both formal and informal. So, say something when appropriate and say it often depending on the situation. Don't wait for annual or quarterly appraisals. Instead, actively look for feedback moments. Think about the people you work closely with and communicate any positive things they have done recently.
Prepare
It takes skill to give effective feedback. Like all learned skills, practice to build confidence and improve the manner in which you give feedback. Make sure that you have your comments ready and clear about what you are going to say. It helps you stick to the main point and stay specific. "You're doing a great job" is nice, but really doesn't specifically tell the recipient what was important. Effective feedback is more powerful because it shows sincerity and that your were actually paying attention. Get your facts right and don't assume things.
Be Understanding
Praise in public and criticize in private. Be sure to use ''I'' statements that are from your perspective. If preparing to give negative feedback, try starting out with a (meaningful) positive comment to help make the person feel more comfortable. Give them suggestions and goals as well. Show that you care and are willing to help the person. Look at the areas where they are doing well and try to understand how they can apply that part of their work to particular areas they are struggling with. Employees can use their strengths across different parts of their work.
Listen
Get the other person's perspective by asking thought provoking questions: ''What's your reaction to what I'm saying?'', ''Do you feel this is a fair representation?'' This helps you both work together to come up with a solution and then follow through with it. Observe reactions to your comments to see if the message is being received. Listening helps you empower the employee to succeed as opposed to making them feel unappreciated.
Follow Up
Even after the conversation is over, find them to see if there are any remaining concerns they may have. This will help keep communication open between you and your team members. Be sure to document your conversations to help for any future conversations that will help improve overall performance. Many times the employee will feel a bit vulnerable and need time to digest the information they were just given before they give a response.
Feedback builds and reinforces the connection between you and your team. While it does take practice, successful feedback communication has the potential to improve your workplace. Investing in people gives you far higher returns since without it, people will feel invisible and insignificant. They may feel that their work has been taken for granted. If you follow these tips you can encourage feedback development that doesn't have to be daunting and uncomfortable and will instead, be worthwhile and productive.

Understand the Purpose

Simply, know the specific reason you are giving feedback and what outcome you want. It'll make things a more positive experience for everyone.

Timing

Give appropriate feedback as close to the event as possible. Otherwise the event won't be as memorable and may come across as mundane and insincere. Unless, of course...it's a highly emotional situation. Then, wait to make sure things have calmed down.

Consistent

Feedback shouldn't be given once a year. Feedback should be both formal and informal. So, say something when appropriate and say it often depending on the situation. Don't wait for annual or quarterly appraisals. Instead, actively look for feedback moments. Think about the people you work closely with and communicate any positive things they have done recently.

Prepare

It takes skill to give effective feedback. Like all learned skills, practice to build confidence and improve the manner in which you give feedback. Make sure that you have your comments ready and clear about what you are going to say. It helps you stick to the main point and stay specific. "You're doing a great job" is nice, but really doesn't specifically tell the recipient what was important. Effective feedback is more powerful because it shows sincerity and that your were actually paying attention. Get your facts right and don't assume things.

Be Understanding

Praise in public and criticize in private. Be sure to use ''I'' statements that are from your perspective. If preparing to give negative feedback, try starting out with a (meaningful) positive comment to help make the person feel more comfortable. Give them suggestions and goals as well. Show that you care and are willing to help the person. Look at the areas where they are doing well and try to understand how they can apply that part of their work to particular areas they are struggling with. Employees can use their strengths across different parts of their work.

Listen

Get the other person's perspective by asking thought provoking questions: ''What's your reaction to what I'm saying?'', ''Do you feel this is a fair representation?'' This helps you both work together to come up with a solution and then follow through with it. Observe reactions to your comments to see if the message is being received. Listening helps you empower the employee to succeed as opposed to making them feel unappreciated.

Follow Up

Even after the conversation is over, find them to see if there are any remaining concerns they may have. This will help keep communication open between you and your team members. Be sure to document your conversations to help for any future conversations that will help improve overall performance. Many times the employee will feel a bit vulnerable and need time to digest the information they were just given before they give a response.

Feedback builds and reinforces the connection between you and your team. While it does take practice, successful feedback communication has the potential to improve your workplace. Investing in people gives you far higher returns since without it, people will feel invisible and insignificant. They may feel that their work has been taken for granted. If you follow these tips you can encourage feedback development that doesn't have to be daunting and uncomfortable and will instead, be worthwhile and productive.

Topics: Feedback, tips

Briana Songer

Written by Briana Songer

Marketing Director at PlayVox

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