What kind of feedback do you provide to employees – more importantly, how do you deliver this feedback?
Research suggests there is a link between your organisation’s level of profitability and the way in which you give feedback .
Furthermore, a company’s growth is related to its hierarchical structure. Embedded within this structure is the process of employee evaluation and your assessment of employee performance .
Leadership is not just about delegating tasks and overlooking progress; you have to empower employees to innovate and go the extra mile. Give credit where credit is due and address challenging situations head on .
“As a leader…your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.”
— Richard Teerlink
There are several ways to give feedback to ensure increased motivation and cooperation, as opposed to resentment or negativity. Giving constructive feedback is an art and involves a certain amount of finesse you must develop as a leader.
Rather than fearing the words “we need to talk”, foster a feeling of trust where your employees welcome feedback .
Offer a safe and supportive environment where employees feel that feedback is an objective evaluation of their work rather than a criticism.
According to research cited at the NeuroLeadership Summit in Boston, people who receive feedback, apply it only about 30% of the time. This has led experts to conclude that if the person receiving the feedback is not comfortable, the feedback is ultimately unproductive.
“It takes leaders to grow other leaders.”
— Ray Blunt
Providing constructive feedback is an opportunity for you to help your staff to work on skills that need improvement. Your feedback should focus on pointing out the positive aspects of an employees’ performance. This does not mean you should eliminate negative feedback altogether; instead make sure you follow it up with constructive suggestions or solutions. Feedback should empower people to do better and help them in their professional journey – remember you are moulding the leaders of tomorrow.
A lot of people break into a cold sweat when they find out it’s ‘appraisal day’ or their boss is about to give them feedback. It’s a well-known fact that the word” feedback” elicits a range of unnerving emotions!
While there may be times when negative feedback is necessary; it doesn’t have to be delivered in a negative way. When feedback is delivered positively, it encourages people to take a new direction.
To avoid defensiveness, offer a clear understanding of your intention and message.
Ambiguous feedback is counterproductive and can diminish performance. Rather than saying something generic like “You need to communicate more” you could say “I want to hear at least one new idea from you every week”.
“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.”
— Jim Trinka and Les Wallace
Follow up your feedback with open-ended questions and give the other person a chance to respond. By accepting your team’s ideas and opinions, you are showing that you value and respect them.
Also, remember that feedback is subject to where a person is on his or her own learning curve. As Albert Einstein said, if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid! Tailor your expectations to the person being evaluated. For example, you cannot expect the same level of expertise from a novice and someone who has become well-acquainted with the company.
“You may be the boss, but you’re only as good as the people who work for you.”
— Rear Admiral William Leahy
If you expect your staff to respect you, then you have to show them you are open to criticism. Ask questions and get a better understanding of how they view the feedback process. There needs to be consistency between the feedback you give and the other person’s impression of that feedback. Consider this a ‘reality’ check – One that helps you improve your leadership skills and leads to success for you and your team.