Providing effective praise and constructive criticism is one of the most challenging communication challenges for management. Feedback is vital to encourage growth in your team members and improve performance, but this can be difficult when you are trying to balance giving feedback while also keeping them motivated.
Be realistic about what you can achieve, but also don’t be too harsh if you’re giving feedback on a project or task that has not been done. When the employee has not quite got it right yet and encourage them to put more effort and keep going. Give simple examples of how the person should improve their work. This will help them know what areas need work in order for their work to be up to scratch for future tasks and projects.
We recommend avoiding the sandwich method of delivering constructive feedback. You should start with something positive, then move on to the negative feedback and end with another positive statement. This may seem like a good way to soften the blow of critical feedback. It ends up sending mixed messages. It also can make it seem like you are just telling someone what they want to hear.
When giving feedback, focus on the issue. It is easy to get off track and start talking about the person instead of what they did or how they can improve. A simple way to avoid this pitfall is to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements when describing situations and behaviours that need improvement.
It is important to be sincere when giving feedback, so that the other person knows you mean what you say and can trust your opinion. If something needs improvement, it needs improvement. You do not want to start by giving them positive praise just because they are in a bad mood or because of some personal reasons that might prevent them from taking criticism. Well, this could only make matters worse later on. Give them honest feedback first, so they have time to process it before anything else. Do not be sarcastic or condescending. This will hurt their feelings even more than if there were no compliments at all.
When you describe the behaviour you observed, be as specific as possible. Try to avoid making it personal or emotional and keep your tone neutral and aim. Don’t use judgmental language when giving feedback. It is okay if someone disagrees with one of your points and the important thing is being able to communicate so that there is no misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Owning the feedback is a powerful step in becoming a leader. You are reliable and credible when you take responsibility for what you have done well or not. A great way to show that you are taking ownership is by acknowledging what went well and thanking your manager for pointing it out to you.
Timeliness is an important part of giving and receiving feedback. Feedback should be close to the event as possible. If you leave it too long, there may not be enough detail to remember what happened or why things went wrong. They could also see it as an excuse for poor performance if it is too late for a correction to be made.
Listening to any response during the feedback is being respectful. Do not interrupt or try to talk over the person giving feedback. Let them finish their thoughts before you respond and don’t ignore what they’re saying.
If you’re receiving feedback from someone who reports to you, it’s important that they feel like their concerns are being addressed and considered by management. This means making sure that your actions are appropriate when addressing their concerns about work.
It’s important to offer solutions when giving feedback. Suggesting a solution will help your manager and colleagues understand how they can change improve the situation, which is what they want to do as well. Offering specific solutions can start by seeking feedback. It helps if you ask a person you are giving feedback what they think is one of the key problems with their performance or behaviour. This will allow them to feel heard and understood before being told what needs improvement. It also gives both parties time for reflection before deciding on an actionable strategy for change.
One way to make feedback easier is to make it more specific by understanding what motivates an employee, then providing clear goals or suggestions on how they could improve their performance in order for them to achieve those goals.