7 Strategies The Best Leaders Use to Give Feedback
Leaders know that giving constructive feedback to employees is critical for growth. It can fuel motivation and improve performance.
How you deliver that feedback, though, can be the difference between success and failure.
Some employees mistake feedback for criticism. That’s why it’s important to frame up conversations in the proper way. Negative feedback, when delivered as such, demotivates employees. Even positive feedback can turn into a negative if employees believe it’s hollow praise.
Any feedback needs to be genuine and come from the right place. If employees believe you are providing feedback in a true effort to improve their performance, they will respect that. In fact, they crave it. More than two-thirds of employees that receive accurate and consistent feedback say they are more fulfilled in their jobs.
The Importance Of Feedback
Employees that know their strengths and weakness tend to perform better. Gallup conducted a study of more than 65,000 workers and found those who received constructive feedback were happier in their jobs. They stayed in their jobs longer. In fact, those that received feedback had nearly a 15% lower turnover rate than those who did not get feedback.
So just what are the benefits of feedback In the workplace?
- Improves Performance
- Provides a strategic way to direct, re-direct, or recognize employee behaviour
- Promotes loyalty
- Keeps team members aligned with goals
- Increases engagement
- Improves morale and workplace relationships
Effective Feedback Strategies
There are many different types of feedback in the workplace and many methods you can employ. It’s not as important the type or form you use, but rather how you give feedback and how often that makes the difference.
1. Purpose-Driven: Have a goal in mind
Throughout the workday, there are plenty of opportunities for spontaneous interactions with employees. Those mini-feedback sessions are important, but managers need to have a goal in mind when these sessions happen.
Managers should focus on the end goals they are trying to achieve when providing feedback. Then, structure the communication in the workplace to reflect your strategy.
2. Tangible: Give specific and tangible feedback that relates to goals
Too much of the feedback managers give is vague. Not only does it fail to impact behaviour, employees often see it as gratuitous and inauthentic. “Good job,” may make people feel good for a moment, but providing specific and tangible feedback is critical.
A better approach is to use specifics: “You did a good job with that report. The research was strong, and I particularly liked the way you laid out a logical case for our new program.” This reinforces the importance of research and providing a logical flow to the way facts are presented.
3. Actionable: Focus on things that can be acted on
When you are trying to change behaviour, you have to provide clear direction. Letting an employee know that they have an attitude problem doesn’t help them identify what changes need to be made. Letting them know that they are condescending to other employees and that they demonstrate it by cutting them off, rolling their eyes, and sitting with a closed posture can give them specific things they can act upon.
4. Focused: Be Clear And Direct
Another mistake many managers make is to “save up” problems and then lay them all out at once. Unfortunately, laundry lists of items get forgotten. Employees can also feel like they can’t do anything right or that you don’t value them.
Stay focused on the big picture and only work on one or two things at a time. Be clear about what the feedback is, what you expect to happen as a result of the conversation and provide a timeline for results and review.
If there is a problem, make sure you address it directly. It’s too easy to soften the message to avoid conflict. When something needs corrected, you need to be clear about your expectations.
5. Timely: Catch people in the moment doing good or bad
Some of the best feedback you can ever provide is right in the moment when you catch somebody doing something right. Publicly acknowledging their success helps reinforce the behaviour you want and shows others what it takes to get recognised. This positive feedback is a powerful motivator.
When you see someone doing something that does not measure up, talking to them privately is the smart approach. Providing negative feedback in public makes everyone uncomfortable.
It makes a difference. The more recent an event, the greater value employees assign to it.
6. Regular: It can’t be limited to once a year
Feedback isn’t just annual performance reviews. While formal reviews can help with goal-setting and tying tasks back to company performance, feedback needs to be delivered on a consistent basis.
Feedback is really every conversation and every interaction. Employees look for subtle signs in every conversation.
Frequent interactions make a huge difference. Engagement is highest among employees who meet with managers regularly. When managers have regular interactions, employees are almost three times more likely to be engaged.
Meeting regularly and talking about both work and non-work issues can be the foundation for building a genuine relationship. Investing in the relationship helps managers show they are invested in the employee’s success.
7. Consistent: It can’t be “when I have time”
Feedback also cannot be limited to when I have time. The best leaders know it is a critical part of managing people and make time for it. That means having a strategy, carving out the time, and putting it on the calendar. Then, refusing to let anything else (barring emergencies) from making sure the meetings occur.
Providing regular feedback does take time, but it’s too important not to make time to do it.
Feedback Shows Real Results
Consistent, constructive criticism can make a big difference in your workplace. It is a process that good leadership training should spend a solid amount of time on because it makes such a marked difference within a business.
It can help employees feel valued and appreciated. It can build relationships and motivate teams. Feedback can help employees grow and improve.
Use these seven tools to provide effective communication that your employees will appreciate. These feedback strategies can accelerate employee growth, improve employee engagement, and make an impact on your bottom line. In fact, Gallup reports companies that provide consistent feedback reported an 8.9 percent great profitability.
RELATED VIDEO: What if you are an employee and want some feedback from your manager but are unsure how to ask for it? Watch this: