Biz Journals’ Ask Alice recently provided five tips managers and executives can use to better provide feedback to their workers.
To achieve the goal of delivering feedback that is clear, concise and helpful, Alice recommends the following:
Dialogue vs monologue:
For critical information, such as feedback, the receiver needs to be able to ask questions while returning nonverbal feedback that indicates understanding. A one-way dialogue doesn’t allow for such conversation, and therefore isn’t effective. This can perhaps best be illustrated by the fact that email often makes a lousy feedback medium.
Clear and actionable:
To be most effective, feedback should focus on behavior, versus intangibles such as attitudes or beliefs. In addition, every piece of feedback should end with a clear statement of action that needs to be taken, along with a description of the unsuccessful behavior. For example, the feedback that “a report is filled with errors” would be followed by a clause stating that “you need to use a peer to proof your reports.”
Timing is everything:
It may be tempting to save up feedback for a formal review or even a more convenient time, but the reality is that feedback needs to be heard as close to the incident or behavior as possible in order to be most effective. This will also allow for feedback to be delivered in single doses, as opposed to as part of a laundry list, making it much more digestible – and therefore actionable – for the employee in question.
Feedback needs feedback:
Stemming from the idea that feedback should be a conversation, Ask Alice recommends that managers ask employees to send an email later that day summarizing the feedback and the actions they have agreed to take – not only will this demonstrate comprehension, but it can also serve as “concrete evidence of your pact in the event that the unwanted behavior returns,” she notes.
Location, location, location:
While it’s important to give feedback in the moment – or as close to the moment as possible, you still need to make sure that the conversation occurs in a private place without interruptions. Further, Ask Alice warns against choosing a single spot over and over to deliver feedback as it can quickly turn into a “principal’s office” type situation.
What are your rules for delivering feedback? Leave us a note in the comments section below.