Giving feedback is an important part of being a good and successful manager. Giving feedback can be a hard and daunting task for just about anybody, even the most seasoned managers. It’s important to give feedback regularly, and not just pile it up till it’s time for the annual review

Knowing how to give constructive feedback is vital to improving employees’ performances and can be vital when there are issues that require improvement from the staff. It’s important to balance both positive and negative feedback and not just shower staff with positive feedback, hoping that would inspire them to overcome their shortcomings; or negative feedback only and risk making them feel unappreciated and unmotivated.

Boss giving feedback to employee
Boss giving feedback to employee

Here are some tips on how to give feedback that motivates and makes team members reach their full potential.

  • Be specific about the problem

When telling your employees that they need to do better, you also have to ensure you tell them why. Let them know how their inability to do a task is affecting the team and business. Tell them what the actual problem is and suggest possible solutions they can try out.

  • Focus on the problem, not the person

Constructive feedback focuses on the outcome of an action and not the personal attributes of the staff. Structure your feedback to express your impartial observations and not your personal opinions. Discussing the situation itself and not your opinion of it shows that you are more concerned about the solution than the personality of the staff. Always point out the specific behavior you want changed. So, instead of saying an individual is disrespectful, point out a specific time they rolled their eyes or raised their voice at you.

  • Focus on things that can be changed

Constructive feedback should be about things that an individual can change, not things they have no control over. People tend to give broad-based feedback without any evidence. Constructive feedback highlights things that can be changed and provides insights on how to change them.

  • Give positive feedback

Giving positive feedback alongside negative feedback is a good way to make the individual feel less hurt. This way the individual knows that you are not criticizing their overall performance, but just specific aspects. Be careful not to over-emphasise the positive so you don’t appear insincere.

  • Praise in public and criticise in private

This is the general rule when giving feedback. Your feedback would be ineffective if the person you are giving it to feels embarrassed. When giving negative feedback, it’s better to make it a private conversation.

  • Listen 

Allow your staff to speak when giving them your feedback; this makes it easy for them to trust you with their concerns and ideas.

  • Be sincere

Let your tone and manner match the message you are sending across. If you are giving positive feedback, let your tone show that you are appreciative of their efforts. When giving negative feedback, let your tone portray concern. Avoid emotions such as anger and sarcasm

Some examples of how to give constructive feedback:

  • “I know how excited you get about new projects. But sometimes when you get excited, you don’t give others the chance to share their ideas. The other day, I noticed you spoke over Dave and Bridget a couple of times. Did you notice that too?”
  • “I appreciate how you kept me up to date on the Beta project; it enabled me to give a proper report to the stakeholders. I’m impressed with the new processes you are introducing for this project”.
  • “I noticed this is the third time you are missing a deadline, I understand that it’s a fast-paced environment which you are trying to get used to. I think you would be more effective if you restructured your time management strategies.

Feedback isn’t a one-way street. You have to know how to give it constructively and receive it effectively. If done properly, feedback has the potential to make your workplace a more productive place to be.

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