What is one tip for giving constructive feedback to employees that will actually drive results?
To help you give your employees constructive feedback, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best tips. From being encouraging with your feedback to avoiding lecturing, there are several ways you may provide constructive feedback to help your employees produce better results.
Here are seven tips for giving constructive feedback:
- Be Encouraging With Your Feedback
- Relate Your Feedback To Your Past Experience
- Let Your Feedback Be Infrequent
- Accompany Feedback With a Clear Path for Improvement
- Stop Thinking About It as Feedback
- Start With Clear Expectations
- Avoid Lecturing
Be Encouraging With Your Feedback
One tip for giving constructive feedback to employees that will actually drive results is to be encouraging and commending when giving feedback. The reason to be encouraging, and even commending, during a performance review or any scenario where you will give constructive feedback is the fact that your employees may not be comfortable with receiving criticism or any negative feedback. Most people tend to handle constructive feedback negatively or with mixed feelings! Even if you tell them about a small issue to fix, be encouraging with your employee and let them know they can do it and they’ll get the hang of it! Make them feel good and confident! Remind them of previous achievements and hard work they’ve done in the past and give them commendations. Being encouraging and commending will always drive results after giving constructive feedback.
Himanshu Agarwal, WorkBoard
Relate Your Feedback To Your Past Experience
Early on in my career, I learned about this method that can be applied in a number of situations. In recent years as a CEO of a small but thriving company, I find myself using it most when providing constructive feedback to my staff. It’s called, Feel, Felt, Found, and it always gets results.
I start by relating to them by saying, “I know how you feel. I’ve felt the same way before.” This immediately captures their attention and now they’re listening openly to me and what I am about to share. Having a captive audience that you are relatable to, is half the battle. The other half is providing a solution. That’s when I’ll say, “I have found what works best is…” and then I provide an example of a solution I have used for a similar problem. This method of relating to your team through experience, and then providing an experience-based solution, has always driven results for me. It is simple, honest, and concise.
Devin Schumacher, SERP
Let Your Feedback Be Infrequent
A study found that professionals work better with detailed feedback less frequently rather than with frequent detailed feedback because this hampers their ability to learn on their own.
I have found this study to be helpful in my work because I used to micromanage and look at every little detail, especially if my associate is just starting out. Upon reading it, I tried it as a new approach and realized that it worked better because I was opening myself to my associates’ points of view and found that they had a lot of ideas to offer which were constricted by the parameters that I personally set for them. I prefer giving constructive feedback and praise infrequently because I find that it holds more meaning to the receiver–thus motivating them to do better the next time!
Collen Clark, Schmidt & Clark, LLP
Accompany Feedback With a Clear Path for Improvement
I always lay a clear path for the employee to improve their performance. It serves no one to simply criticize past performance and leave it to the employee to figure out what to do next. As a leader, it is part of my job to lead each employee to a place where they can perform optimally. That way, every performance review comes out as a net positive: my employees are recognized for what they have done well and given a clear path for what they can do better.
Umer Usman, AvantStay
Stop Thinking About It as Feedback
As soon as we think about having to give feedback we can feel nervous or anxious and this can impact the way it’s delivered. Plus, when we say we have feedback to give someone, they also can go into nervous or defensive mode. Stop thinking about feedback as feedback, it’s a conversation. And when you frame it in your mind as a conversation you present it differently and so it’s received in a much more positive way that then helps to drive performance and results.
Kelly Swingler, Kelly Swingler Ltd
Start With Clear Expectations
No one likes to be surprised by constructive feedback and when feedback is given about an expectation that was not communicated, it feels unfair. Take the time to be clear with employees about what is expected of them upfront and revisit those expectations regularly. Whether those expectations are anchored in job responsibilities or in how you expect them to collaborate and communicate with others, being clear about what good looks like sets you up to deliver clear and effective feedback conversation that employees can act upon.
Rachel Kleban, Rachel Kleban, LLC
Making a mistake can be painful, and sometimes, it can even be costly. That’s why you need to create a psychologically safe culture where team members can share their mistakes openly. Now you may be asking yourself, “Who actually wants to share that they’ve screwed something up?” Psychologically safe cultures enable team members to share the mistakes they made, as well as the steps they’ve taken and the processes they’ve created to never make that error again.
The first step in building this kind of culture is giving timely and constructive feedback. Avoid lecturing the person and instead be curious to identify what happened and what the person learned. Encourage them to create a new process or system to avoid making the same error in the future and then champion that person for their innovation and dedication to success. Over time people will become willing to share their learnings which will help your peers and management.
Jim Leahy, DailyPay