5 Tips to Give Your Team Professional Feedback
If you dug through the files in your brain that recorded performance reviews, you will most likely find two categories: “Keep” and “Shred.” You want to shred the memories associated with a bad performance review. But interestingly enough, you received some negative feedback over the years that you’ve filed into the “keep” folders. What makes you want to shred certain memories is not actually the review itself, but the way you received it—the way it made you feel. You felt embarrassed when you received negative feedback in front of your team and superiors. You felt angry at the condescending way the review was delivered. You realize that the when, who, and how the feedback was given made a greater impact than the feedback itself. The good and the bad feedback stowed away in the “keep” files actually helps you be a better manager today. You recall the way you felt motivated to do better next time, or empowered to keep up the good work. So, now that you’re the one giving performance reviews, you attempt to mimic the timing and manner in which specific reviewers once delivered feedback to you.
At Trinity Training & Development, we understand the value of delivering feedback in a professional way. Feedback promotes clarity, communication, and team unity. We want all of these things for your organization! So, here are 5 tips to deliver feedback in a way that reaps positive results.
1. Publicly Praise Good Work
Praise members of your team for a job well done in front of others. You can recognize an employee’s outstanding work at the beginning of a meeting. Or, send an email letting them know you appreciated their attention to detail on a project—and cc the board of directors or executive team. Public praise motivates others to work hard to receive kudos, and it increases employee satisfaction. To correctly inspire and promote trust with your team, always give negative feedback in private. It can be a meaningful conversation that steers an employee towards the right direction while saving the embarrassment and frustration that’s sure to follow a public critique.
2. Be Specific
Rather than simply saying, “great job with that client,” be specific. Recognize exactly what the employee did that impressed you instead of using generalizations. Most people respond better to personalized feedback and feel motivated to continue performing when they know their efforts are noticed. When it’s necessary to give negative feedback, specifics are the only way to reduce frustration and ignite change in your employee. “I’m not happy” is not helpful. Instead, offer constructive criticism with clear expectations for what you’d like to see next time.
3. Don’t Shy Away from Hard Conversations
Most people don’t like conflict, and the natural response is to avoid it. But you’ve probably seen through your friendships and romantic relationships that ignoring a hard conversation doesn’t make the issue go away—it actually makes it worse. Unspoken words fester and shine a magnifying glass over the problem making it bigger and more complicated than it is. The same is true in your business relationships. The longer you avoid addressing a problem, the more frustrated you get and the more confused your employee will be. Stop any passive-aggressive behavior and be direct. Hard conversations are necessary for growth and progress. You delay both when you delay an uncomfortable conversation.
4. Be Clear
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Clarity is King. In virtually any circumstance, it rings true. Especially when it comes to offering feedback. When speaking with your employees about a new project, casting vision to enhance the company’s culture, or delivering a critique, try using this phrase, “My expectation is _________, and my observation is _________.” This simple phrase can unravel the tangled mess of miscommunication. Clarity puts everyone on the same page so that collectively, you can move forward to accomplish the task at hand. Make sure all goals, objectives, and expectations are clearly identified and explained to increase production and reduce conflict.
5. Press Pause When Necessary
Voicing your feedback may not always be required right away. In an emotionally charged situation, pressing pause and keeping your thoughts to yourself may be the wisest response. When it comes to discerning whether or not it is time to speak up, ask these three questions:
- Does this need to be said?
- Does this need to be said by me?
- Does this need to be said by me now?
When it is time to speak, remember that honesty doesn’t have to be harsh. Your tone can be kind yet firm. Your expectations can be laid out clearly without you sounding like a jerk. So always consider your audience and how your message will be received before you speak.
For more training on how to communicate effectively and deliver feedback in a way that increases your employees’ performance and their trust in you, contact Trinity Training & Development today.