Effective feedback or the lack thereof, has the power to make or break an organization.
If handled properly, it has the potential to transform the efficiency and performance of any workplace.
And yet so many people fail to harness the power of simple and consistent feedback that could contribute exponentially to their growth.
Giving and receiving feedback is a dynamic process. It’s a two way street. The person giving the feedback and the one receiving it, both have to approach it with a positive mindset or it simply won’t work.
So, whether you are planning on offering feedback to your employees or your performance review is coming up, the following tips will prove immensely useful.
- Always Address Behavior Not Personality
While giving feedback, it is important to keep in mind that you should address a particular behavior and not the personality of a person.
As simple as it sounds, the hardest part of the giving feedback is to keep the emotions out of it. A person is less likely to respond with hostility if the fault being pointed has to do with something ‘they are doing’ rather than ‘who they are’.
- Be Specific About the Changes You Want
Always be specific about the behavior you see as problematic and the changes that you want made. It also helps to show the person how their behavior affects others.
It will be easier for them to see your point of view, if you can precisely point out the adverse effects of their actions.
For example if an employee or team member has been consistently late in delivering his or her work, explain how the delay affects the output of the whole team.
- Feedback should be Timely and Followed up Regularly
An essential point to keep in mind is that feedback should be timely and never be delayed.
Deliver the feedback when the incident or problem is still fresh in memory. Feedback works best when given consistently. It will serve no purpose if you give feedback one day and then forget to follow up for months.
Ideally, the employee will try to make changes in his or her behavior based on your feedback. They must be able to see and feel that their improvement is being regularly assessed and recognized.
Never forget to praise an employee, preferably in front of other team members, if he or she has heeded your advice and made improvements.
- Choose the Time and Place Carefully
If the person is in an emotional state, it is better to wait until things cool down. Similarly, if you are in an agitated state, it’s best to hold off the feedback session until later. Choose the timing carefully. Even sincere and positive comments can fail to produce effect if the timing is wrong.
In addition to timing, consider the place as well. While praise works best in front of an audience, criticism, even if constructive, is accepted far better in private. If your feedback is critical in nature, convey it in the privacy of the employee’s or your own office.
While the method of giving feedback is important it is only half the battle.
Learning how to accept feedback is the crucial next step. Feedback can be tough to receive.
Think of it as if a sports coach were telling a player to change a particular technique. Don’t take it personally and use it constructively.
Here are few things to keep in mind if you are dreading your performance review.
- Always Be Open to Feedback
Listen to the feedback being offered with an open mind. If you start with a rigid mindset the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Sincere feedback can play a pivotal role in your personal as well as professional growth. It is a valuable gift, and should be treated as such.
- Do Not Argue or Interrupt
When receiving feedback, don’t offer arguments or make comments. Listen attentively without interrupting. However, if the specific change required is not clear to you, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Ambiguity at this stage can only hinder growth. Don’t shy away from asking direct questions if necessary. Make sure that you know exactly which aspects of your behavior require changes.
- Examine your Mistakes and Be Willing to Make Changes
Once the feedback session is over, go over all the points discussed in the meeting. Better yet, write them down on a notepad. Invest some time in dispassionate introspection. Do not make sudden changes. Continue your routine for a short while but this time remember the feedback and try to see what you have been doing wrong.
Discuss the feedback with others to get their take on it. Ask a colleague whom you trust if they agree with the feedback. Include their perspective in your notes and review it all later. We often cannot see what we are doing wrong and getting different perspectives can help you achieve clarity.
- Use the Feedback Positively
Once it is clear what changes you need to make, try to consistently work on them. Persevere with dedication and check back with your manager or supervisor periodically. Use the feedback given in a positive and constructive manner and you will soon learn what astounding results simple feedback can achieve.