“But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good/
Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”
The lyrics to that old blues song perfectly illustrate the importance of communicating your feedback in a clear, timely, focused and respectful manner. The goal is not to tear down your employees but to give them the gift of clarity and to help build them up into something greater. To do so, you must make sure the feedback covers something the employee can actually control and address directly. Be sure to ask questions and offer practical, simple, supportive advice.
This starts with your approach. Your feedback should come from a place of wanting to make a difference with them so begin with your end in mind and provide focus. Own your feedback, be specific and constructive and as much as possible base your feedback on facts and first hand observed behavior and offer the feedback as soon as you can. Otherwise, the employee may not know what you’re talking about, or will have forgotten the issue by the time you address it.
Make sure you plan ahead by knowing your audience and how they receive feedback the best. Decide if the issue needs to be discussed privately or in public? And don’t neglect to give praise and positive feedback when due. In general commend publicly and critique privately. Either way, be specific or address issues head-on.
Honesty is the shortest path to accountability so start with straight talk; be honest, constructive and positive.
To sum up, great employee feedback requires:
- The ability to invite and accept feedback gracefully and humbly.
- Taking steps to put your employees at ease and make them feel safe.
- Communicating in a clear, timely, focused and respectful manner.
Got questions? Achilles Group would love to help! You can contact us here.