Tips for Providing Productive Feedback to Employees

Whether we realize it or not, in the interactions that we have with those around us, we get to give and receive feedback quite often, including through the tone of the voice or the body language. The way it is delivered to the person we talk with can lead to constructive discussions or not, it can degenerate into conflicts or may result in positive actions. If feedback is not given the right way, the person who receives it may take it as a personal attack, while it should be seen as a development opportunity and as a chance to learn something new.

Avoiding Ambiguity

When it comes to feedback offered to employees, it is necessary to keep in mind that it must be specific to the subject, not a general one. For example, instead of saying to a person from the team that he/she did just "good" or "bad", a leader should go into details and point out certain aspects such as: "You have chosen the right words hen writing this presentation " or "the charts have reached the key points on the agenda " etc. If we summarize everything only with "good" or "bad", there is a risk that the other person will over-appreciate himself or, on the contrary, will become frustrated.

Focus on Facts, Not on People

At the same time, the focus should always be on a certain behavior, on an attitude, on a repeated mistake, and not on the person doing these things. An employee will rather receive easier a phrase like "such things are not beneficial" or "try to pay more attention to this aspect in the future" than if they are told "this is not good" or "you did this again". Also, feedback has to refer to behaviors and issues that the employee can improve or change completely, and he may be guided to attend classes and trainings for this.

Immediate Feedback is More Efficient

Equally, we should not forget that immediate feedback is more efficient. The mind of the individual processes things differently when they are told about a recent action rather than the cases when things he did several months ago are brought to his attention. Therefore, it is advisable not to wait for the annual or quarterly assessments to try to straighten certain trends that affect productivity or teamwork. The more we wait, the more unclear things will be and the effect will be reduced. Therefore, feedback must be given with frequency, be it positive or negative.

Don’t Criticize in Public

Sometimes negative feedback is associated with criticism by the one who receives it. Therefore, it should never be disclosed in public. Moreover, even when talking about positive feedback it is not necessarily recommended to communicate it in public, because some people do not like to be in the spotlight. It is better that such discussions take place in separate sessions, so that the person who receives it will have the opportunity to ask questions, ask for advice or directions for development and to state its point of view when he/she disagrees with what is being communicated to him.

End in a Positive Note

Last but not least, when we offer feedback, it is a good idea to end up in a positive note and put things in a balance so that we can mention the good and bad things. When the whole discussion is about negative things, the person receiving the feedback can become defensive or disappointed, especially if he/she doesn’t receive suggestions for improvement. So, it’s better to never diverge from the ultimate goal of this process, which is to help employees evolve and to end always with encouragements.

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