A game-changer for a business and the lives of its workers, Constructive feedback has such power that it can send a person on a career-changing spiral in the upward direction, and there’s a good chance that the business results will accompany them as well.
Many business leaders out there, however, often drop the ball while providing constructive feedback as they can come across as hostile, offensive and/or deconstructive.
Learning to provide constructive feedback takes practical steps that can improve how employees and co-workers are counselled.
To provide feedback, just like every other task, there is a right way and a wrong way. You’ll realize when you have got it right, and you’ll definitely realize when you have got it wrong. Ultimately, it’s all about learning from trial and error.
Given below are 5 ways that can be used to provide better constructive feedback:
State Why It Matters
By letting your employee know the reason for giving them constructive feedback, the stage is set for also letting them know where you’re coming from, and it also lets them know the overall purpose of the conversation.
There may be various reasons which have led to this discussion. The employee may be:
- Underperforming and hurting the results of the team
- Having trouble understanding an assigned task
- Making the other teammates uncomfortable
- Displaying a troublesome attitude or behaviour
Always remember to focus on the why.
Be clear and concise
Get straight to the point. Don’t drag things out. It’s best to deliver that constructive feedback as soon as possible. If an employee exhibited poor behaviour or made an off-hand comment during a meeting, bring it up during your weekly check-in rather than delaying it for 6 months till your semi-annual review.
Nail your timing
Even though you can deliver perfectly constructed feedback to an employee, it could go up in flames if the timing is wrong. Try avoiding a day before the weekend or the day before any upcoming holiday.
Constructive feedback should not come from a place of obligation but from a place of caring. No employee wants a boss who acts distant and indifferent.
While attempting to do something like this, try to put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Imagine what you could do could you do or say to reassure them, motivate them, and help them handle things the right way. Taking the time to play this scenario in your mind first is a great step towards building empathy as it will prepare you to be more sensitive and honest when delivering the feedback.
Make it a conversation
Instead of being one-sided, make the process of constructive feedback a two-way street and give your employees the opportunity to speak up and voice their own thoughts.
By listening to their side of the story, you may be better able to sympathise with their situation and make the employee feel that you understand their mindset. Create a safe space where employees can share their problems but, at the same time, don’t probe into personal matters.