Providing feedback to support the staff’s learning and development is one of the responsibilities of a manager. Ongoing constructive feedback will inform employees how they are performing and what’s expected of them moving forward.
Constructive feedback is essential when a staff is required to improve on shortcomings or mistakes, without causing hurt feelings. It’s also important to be on an ongoing basis, not just during annual performance reviews.
Here are effective ways to provide feedback to staff to help them recognise and avoid mistakes, and inspire in achieving their full potential.
Tell the employee what they need to do better, and why.
You cannot always assume that the employee has all the background information they need. Tell them how the problem affects the business.
If the issue is punctuality, make sure to be clear and structure your feedback around it. — e.g., “You have to come in earlier as you don’t want to keep our customers waiting.”
A more specific feedback is a more actionable one.
Constructive feedback is focusing on outcomes and impartial observations rather than the employee’s personal quality. Do not attack the staff’s weakness and motivate using objective facts.
Focusing on the situation rather than personal opinion shows that you’re concern is to fix the problem.
To reassure employees that you place the issues in proper perspective, combine the positives with the negatives.
“This account’s sales are up 15% since last quarter. You did a great job.”
Then move on to the area that needs improvement.
“Although, some customers say that responses are slow.”
This informs the employee that certain parts of their job need attention, but you’re not criticising. Do not emphasise the positives too much, as you can appear insincere.
For constructive feedback to be most effective, go straight to the point. You could confuse your staff with mixed messages if your manner and tone don’t match the context of the feedback.
With positive feedback, let your emotions indicate that you appreciate your employee’s efforts. With negative feedback, use a more concerned tone to show that the problem must be taken seriously.
Avoid displaying negative emotions like anger, disappointment, or sarcasm. These can be perceived as personal criticism.
A quiet meeting room is a good venue for an honest, one-on-one chat with the employee.
Give your staff a chance to respond to show that you are willing to listen to their concerns.
It can also be the employee’s opportunity to express ideas and solutions.
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