While you may feel uncomfortable giving direct feedback, studies show that this is what most people want.
Why should I give constructive feedback?
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found in a 2014 assessment that 57% of employees prefer to receive corrective feedback and 92% believe it improves performance when given correctly.
Those who favored constructive feedback gave their managers the highest ratings for honesty and forthrightness in reviews.
Most employees want to know how to improve their performance, but waiting for annual reviews slows their professional development. Managers often make the mistake of focusing feedback on those who need the most improvement.
Failure to provide feedback to top performers can jeopardize retention rates and cost 400% of annual revenue. Responding quickly to behavioral issues prevents negative impacts on the team. Pointing out negative behaviors in a timely manner helps people understand the impact they have in the workplace and encourages them to change.
Listening helps managers understand the situation and deeper issues that must be resolved. Managers are responsible for ensuring the team works towards a common goal, regular constructive feedback guides everyone towards goals, and clear direction and goals help team members streamline and align efforts for more tremendous success.
Avoiding direct feedback harms both individuals and the team as a whole.
Benefits of providing constructive feedback
While it may seem easier to wait a year and review performance to provide constructive feedback, there are three reasons why periodic one-on-one meetings are important.
- Taking the time to schedule informal face-to-face meetings shows that you care about the professional development of your team members.
- This allows you to ensure that your feedback is understood and received.
- It also allows you to hear their opinions and take the next steps for development more effectively.
There may still be people who resist feedback. Make sure that such a way of thinking does not take place in the organization. The more you get used to giving feedback, the easier it will be for them to change their mindset.
But regardless of whether people have a feedback-resistant or growth mindset, it’s important to take the proper steps to make sure your feedback is well received.
5 Steps to Effectively Giving Constructive Feedback
1. Schedule a 1-on-1 feedback session
Whether it’s in your office and an empty meeting room or in a coffee shop, the best way to give feedback is in a face-to-face meeting. Giving feedback in front of others can undermine a person’s confidence and put them on the defensive. When you ask your employee to meet you, make sure you set it up in a way that doesn’t make them nervous.
Instead of saying, “Can you come to my office so we can talk about your performance,” ask, “Can we talk later to discuss how things are going?” Keeping your request informal and positive will make them feel more relaxed than if they were to meet you one-on-one.
2. Tone and type of presentation
Using the correct tone and presentation is the most important step in giving effective feedback. Keep the following in mind:
Balance your constructive feedback by directing the conversation to what they do well. This will make them realize the level of your expectations. Show that you want to help them continue to practice and develop these types of skills.
Be clear and specific.
It is important to clearly explain what is causing damage to their performance. The best way to do this is to provide practical feedback and specific examples.
Adjust your feedback to a growth mindset.
Remember that the difference between a feedback-resistant mindset and a growth mindset is that people with a resistant mindset see their abilities as fixed, so feedback can be seen as a personal attack.
3. Do not overdo it
Although a person may need improvement in several areas, avoid giving feedback to people in all areas at once. Avoid confusion by focusing on improving one or two areas at a time. Where do you think you should start? Mark Roberge, chief revenue officer at Hubspot, suggests using what he calls metrics-based sales training.
This method is derived from his golf experience. Most golf coaches tell him to rotate his arm, change his stance, shift his weight, and rotate his wrist to improve his swing.
This became confusing and did not lead to any improvement. Instead, a coach asked him to swing his arm and practice throwing 100 times. Then he continued to add and practice a new skill until he finally saw results.
4. Find a solution together
Give people a chance to respond to your comments so you can see them from their perspective and handle the situation properly. Remember that it is your job to give them perspective on their actions.
Once you’ve gathered the facts, make a plan together. Suggest ways they can adjust their performance and ask them what steps they can take to improve. This is a good way to ensure that they understand your expectations and will take action.
Ask your employees how you, as a manager, can help them achieve this goal. This reinforces your desire to help them and shows that you are open to feedback yourself.
5. Track the achievement of achievements
Managers are often trying to figure out how to follow up without giving the impression of micromanaging. If you’ve confirmed that the person understood your feedback during the meeting and that you’ve mapped out common goals together, you should be able to step back and let them execute them. The best way to measure whether they are on track is to follow up by recognizing when they have effectively implemented the changes.
Start effective constructive feedback.
Giving constructive feedback to team members is an important part of your job. Although you may be hesitant to point out what needs improvement, people are increasingly looking for advice to help them develop and enhance their professional skills.
Learning how to give constructive feedback can effectively help you defuse workplace tensions and improve employee retention rates.
Giving (and receiving) feedback can help boost your employees’ mental readiness. With the right tone, presentation, and intent, you can make your workforce more mentally skilled. And in the end, you will see your organization’s performance grow.