Whether it’s personally or professionally, most of us want to be appreciated and acknowledged! For those of you who are in managerial or supervisory positions, ensuring that your team(s) knows they’re appreciated helps you retain those valuable employees over time.
However, there comes a time when, in addition to that positive feedback, you may need to convey some constructive criticism. And, constructive is the keyword here. Giving your employees input helps them grow while also contributing to your organization’s success.
Four great reasons for delivering effective employee feedback are:
- It boosts the levels of trust and communication between you and your team members.
- It encourages the skills and talents that nurture their professional development.
- It strengthens bonds between you and them as well as among one another.
- It improves a team’s overall performance toward reaching the company’s pre-set goals.
Five Dos and Don’ts When Offering Feedback
In an article on Inc.com, author Suzanne Lucas wrote, “Everybody tells you that your employees need feedback, but what they don’t tell you is that doing it wrong can be worse than not doing it at all.” So here are some dos and don’ts to assist you along the way.
DO offer timely advice. The best time to offer feedback is immediately or very soon after you see a need for something to shift. That gives your employee the time to incorporate your advice and take action on it.
DON’T wait until it’s too late. If an event occurs that warrants feedback, but you wait until days (or weeks later) to bring it up, it may be a non-issue at that point. Your employee might even question why you didn’t speak up sooner if it was something important.
DO present positive feedback. Even if the event had a negative impact, let the employee know what they could have done to improve upon the situation. Mistakes happen but can be learning tools. For instance, perhaps an employee forgets to accommodate a guest’s special request. Rather than berate the employee for their forgetfulness, let them know what they could have done to make it up to the guest or offer tips to help them create reminders so they avoid the situation in the future.
DON’T raise your voice. Yelling at an employee just makes them feel small. Yes, it’s possible that they made a big mistake, but take a deep breath before you speak up. Raising your voice may result in an argument with no resolution instead of a conversation toward a solution.
DO understand the reason you’re giving feedback. Is it to motivate the employee to reach a goal … to resolve an issue with a guest … to avoid mistakes in the future? Evaluating your reason ahead of time helps you be well prepared when you sit down for a conversation.
DON’T react impulsively. In the example where a guest’s request was forgotten, snapping at your employee at the moment won’t satisfy the guest’s request. It only makes the employee feel worse. As suggested in “don’t raise your voice,” take a breath before you have a knee-jerk reaction.
DO make it a two-way conversation. Yes, you’re giving feedback, but your employee may have constructive input to share as well. Do your best not to dominate the conversation. Be sure they feel that your meeting is a two-way interaction – that they recognize their feedback is also welcome.
DON’T make employees feel small. You want your team to feel empowered to succeed. If they feel belittled, they’ll shy away from 1) approaching you for feedback or 2) listening to feedback next time you offer it. Provide them with guidance and direction, not criticism and complaints.
Building a strong and positive rapport with your employees results in a concerted team effort toward reaching goals. When managers, supervisors, and employees feel heard and respected, it makes for a successful work environment. Creating trusted connections leads to an organization that everyone looks forward to contributing to.