Everyone states they want feedback, but so few can actually take criticism. A manager’s job is to consistently provide positive and negative feedback to their employees. In every industry and organization, one thing is common and true: “All employees need some form of feedback.” How is that most of us managers fail at this supposedly simple skill? Regardless of experience level, we can all use practice.
Feedback can start with asking how the employee feels they are doing at their job. Set aside a time to really ask them how they feel about their work. Don’t forget follow-up questions, and if there is something they ask for, get back to them. While this may not sound like you’re giving feedback to your employee, it is the start of building a professional, trusting relationship. This feedback from the employee also allows them an opportunity to speak their mind, something most of us hate when we get negative feedback without an opportunity provide our side of the story.
Positive feedback is typically easier to give, but is commonly overlooked or downplayed. As humans, we usually remember the negative more than the positive, but as managers we must make sure to let the employee know when they are doing something we like and appreciate. Don’t forget that your positive feedback should include both private and public praise depending on the employee and situation. As with everything, the praise/feedback must be genuine. If it isn’t bona fide, current and potentially future praise will be quickly dismissed.
Negative feedback must be handled appropriately with careful attention to the result rather than personal attacks. As with most corrective action, make sure that you have thoroughly researched the situation and have obtained as much information as possible before proceeding with confronting the employee. When addressing the problem, ensure that you are focusing on the actual problem and results, not on the employee themselves. Explain why the issue needs to be corrected and how the employee can correct the issue. Don’t forget to get the employee’s buy in to the corrective action and situation, and work with them to craft a solution. When explaining the concerns with the employee, make certain you are being clear with the feedback and that you are not hiding the real issue with a lot of talk.
These are just some quick reminders and tips, but always keep practicing and working towards being an exceptional communicator with your employees. Don’t forget, regardless of the situation, ensure that you are treating the employees and others with Dignity and Respect.