Have you ever said to an employee:
- You’re doing an amazing job.
- I couldn’t have done it better myself.
- Good job; you really aced that.
It feels good doesn’t it? Giving praise for a job well done is one of the best parts of being a boss. The opposite feeling is when you have to provide the sort of feedback referred to as constructive criticism. That doesn’t feel quite as good.
Employees need feedback and while it would be wonderful if the comments were always positive that is rarely the case. After all, as they say, no one is perfect.
Many people shy away from providing constructive criticism. They’re afraid that they will hurt the person’s feelings or get them angry and cause them to leave the company. That doesn’t have to be the case.
Here are some tips on how to provide feedback so that the outcome is positive:
- Constructive feedback is based on facts and information and not on emotion and subjective opinion.
The more clear and fact-based the feedback the better it will be received. Begin the feedback session with factual details of the situation and remain calm and focused. Be direct.
- Remember the purpose of the conversation.
The goal of the feedback exchange is to not make the person feel bad or defensive in any way. The ultimate goal is to correct the behavior and retain a better performing employee. Choose your words carefully so that the employee sees this as a win-win situation.
- Provide solutions to the situation.
Ask the employee how they might have handled the situation differently. Be prepared to offer some suggestions if the employee isn’t sure of other options. Don’t let them feel insecure about what to do in order to make the necessary improvements.
- Provide positive feedback.
It undermines employee’s drive and enthusiasm if they only receive negative feedback. Be as quick to praise, as you are to serve up constructive criticism and watch your employees thrive.
- Be timely when providing feedback.
Make certain to provide feedback in a timely manner. Providing feedback two weeks after the situation has passed will have much less of a benefit than if you speak with the person immediately or within 24 hours. And yes, speak with the person and don’t use email (or texting) as your communications tool.
Giving feedback is critical to helping your employees succeed in their jobs. Don’t shy away from using this most important management technique and watch productivity improve.