The term ‘feedback’ is used to describe the helpful information or criticism about prior action or behavior from an individual, communicated to another individual (or a group) who can use that information to adjust and improve current and future actions and behaviors.
When giving feedback you may be worried about emotional breakdowns and inflamed tempers, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you learn to give feedback effectively, you can avoid the drama and have an insightful conversation around performance, and how it can be improved.
Talk about the situation, not the individual
By its very nature, constructive feedback focuses on outcomes and impartial observations rather than the employee's personal attributes. “Your presentation put a lot of people to sleep” is likely to be taken as an attack that is motivated by personal feelings rather than any objective facts. By discussing the situation itself rather than your personal opinion about it, you are showing that you are most concerned about fixing the problem at hand, not the employee's own personality.
Make it one-on-one
Don’t criticize publicly – ever.
Even praise for some people is better delivered in a private meeting, rather than being pointed out in a public arena, some people simply don’t like being the center of attention. And allow the opportunity of feedback without a face-to-face meeting as it can make it easier for a person to say what they really think.
Find a solution together
Give people a chance to respond to your comments so you can see it from their perspective and properly address the situation. Remember your job is to give them perspective on their actions. Once you’ve gathered the facts create a plan together. Give suggestions of ways they could adjust their performance and ask what steps they think they could take to improve. This is also a good way to make sure they understood and will take the necessary action.
While giving constructive feedback, make sure that staff are given a chance to respond. This shows that you are prepared to listen to their concerns and their interpretation of events. It can also be used as an opportunity for the employee to express their ideas and become part of the solution.
End on a Positive Note
Helping someone to improve should always be the goal of constructive criticism and going back over past mistakes in your closing comments will leave them with a negative impression of the meeting. By leaving the problem to the end, any words of encouragement you’ve given during the meeting will be forgotten.
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