One of the key managerial skills needed by leaders is the ability to give feedback. It’s how you influence your directs’ future actions – provide positive feedback to affirm action and negative (or constructive) feedback to adjust action. Just make sure you give positive feedback at times as well!
First things first – think about the things you don’t like and how you want those corrected – similarly, you need to think about how to reinforce or encourage the things you do like.
Before getting into the actual delivery model, a few pointers:
- You should know beforehand how each of your directs prefers feedback – most of the time it will be verbally in person, but I have had people request it via email.
- Deliver feedback as soon as possible – if you see a behavior (good or bad), provide feedback if you can. Don’t store it up and give it weeks later.
- Give feedback in private, especially negative feedback. It’s obviously not a good thing to bring up negative individual feedback in a group setting. Positive feedback can be delayed to a 1-on-1, depends on the situation.
Okay, now to the nitty gritty. How do you actual deliver the feedback? It’s pretty simple:
- Ask! “Can I give you some feedback?” I have never had anyone say no, but have heard of it before. If they deny, you can defer until later – if they deny again, you simply tell them you must share it with them.
- Describe the specific behavior based on what you saw or heard; describe the impact. It will usually go like this, “Bob, when you do/say <behavior>, <describe impact>”. For example, “When you show up late to meetings, it is disruptive to your coworkers and it shows a lack of respect for their time.”
- Determine next steps, though put the ball in their court. “What can you do about this?”
- End on a good note with a “thank you” or “I appreciate it”.
If you do it correctly and professionally, it is a great tool for developing your directs and/or building morale. Give it try and see how it works out – good luck!