Giving great feedback is a valuable skill in the workplace. People who are able to communicate with clarity and empathy will have the best results on the job. This is one of the keys to cultivating a highly effective organization.
The Power of Patterns
Great feedback comes from focusing on behavioral patterns. This is a lot more effective than focusing on single events. After all, everybody has a bad day now and then.
It’s easier to demonstrate why feedback is useful when it is based on a pattern of behavior. When somebody is late for work once, it’s trivial for them to make an excuse. When they are late every day, it’s easier to make a case for why they need to adjust their habits.
Think About The Organization
It’s best to avoid using personal beliefs as a basis for feedback. Instead, focus on the organization’s principles.
For example, some businesses are strict about employees working from exactly 8am to 5pm. Other organizations are more flexible and encourage people to work odd and extended hours. These kinds of distinctions are important to keep in mind when offering feedback.
Avoid Vague Language
Focus on verbs, not adjectives, to be as clear as possible with feedback. This makes the feedback clearer and easier to act upon.
If a manager tells an employee not to be rude, the employee may not know what they are referring to. On the other hand, imagine that a manager says “Please address all customers as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, rather than calling them ‘dude’ or ‘bro’.” This is specific feedback that is easier to act upon.
Offer a Compliment Along With Constructive Criticism
Few people enjoy receiving negative criticism. In fact, this can be one of the most challenging parts of any job. Most employees have a natural inclination to get angry or become defensive when they are criticized.
Negative feedback can be tempered with compliments. A manager could start a conversation by letting their employee know that they did a great job on their latest project. Then, after the compliment, they might mention that the employee needs to stop showing up late to their shifts. This balances out the emotional tone of the conversation.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
Don’t give too much feedback at once. It’s nearly impossible to adjust multiple behaviors at the same time. Asking somebody to adjust all of their habits at once is like trying to quit cigarettes, start a new diet, and watch less TV all in the same week. Who has that kind of willpower?
Good managers offer specific feedback on one important area of the job, then give the employee a chance to act upon it. After a few weeks, more feedback can be given.
Great Feedback Matters
When employees and colleagues get great feedback, they become better workers. Anybody can utilize the tactics in this article to communicate more effectively at work. In the process, they will nurture a happier and more productive workplace.