Last month we talked about “on-the-spot” coaching and the importance of connecting with employees in real-time to give them feedback. This month I want to get more specific about how to give—and receive—effective feedback.
Multiple studies have shown, and I’m sure your own personal experiences will attest to, the relationship between effective feedback and employee engagement. Receiving regular, pertinent and specific feedback from their direct supervisors and managers is a key driver of engagement. On the flip side, when that feedback is absent, it creates a great deal of distress for employees because they don’t know where they stand or how they’re doing. One of the greatest gifts that leaders can give to their direct reports is clear, consistent and honest feedback. Here’s how:
1. Ask yourself: “What useful information do my people need? What information would help them be more successful in their jobs?” Your goal for giving feedback is to encourage future positive behaviors and also to let your staff know how they’re doing and the impact they have on others or on the organization.
2. Avoid focusing on feedback as either positive or negative. Feedback is feedback—get rid of those descriptors because they can actually interfere with your ability to get your point across. Your feedback is just as important in giving recognition as it is in correcting behavior.