Effective leaders must develop the ability to give constructive feedback to employees. Feedback is carefully constructed, non-judgmental information given to the other person about his or her behavior and its impact on others. Without appropriate and timely feedback, employees are forced to guess how they are performing and coming across to other people, including team members, suppliers, other departments, and customers.
Knowing how to successfully give and receive feedback is not innate. These skills require some finesse and are developed over time. Appropriate feedback does not consist of giving opinions or making assumptions about the other person’s motives, thoughts, or feelings. Honest, caring, and carefully constructed feedback is a rich source of information that can be used for self-improvement and to increase self-awareness.
A lack of interpersonal feedback can create business risks, misunderstandings, and destructive conflict. Many disagreements in relationships are rooted in the absence of feedback.
Each day comes with opportunities to provide people with feedback that will increase their motivation. For example, when a person’s performance has recently improved, providing positive feedback about the specific actions he or she took will motivate the person to repeat that behavior in the future.
Providing Employee Feedback
To sustain employee motivation, it’s important to recognize and provide positive, timely feedback. Rather than waiting for a formal performance appraisal to recognize a person’s accomplishments, acknowledge those achievements in the moment. Leaders should also offer recognition and feedback when an employee continually provides superior performance and results.
Equally important is providing feedback when a person’s performance has recently diminished or goals aren’t being met. In this situation, the feedback must be given as soon as possible after the undesirable behavior has occurred. Otherwise, the person may assume his or her performance or inappropriate behavior is acceptable.
Some leaders procrastinate or avoid confronting others. However, the end result of these behaviors is a long list of items that will need to be dealt with at a later date, which is unfair to the employee: if it has been a while since the incident occurred, he or she may not even remember what happened. As a result, the employee will feel defensive, threatened, and de-motivated.
Confronting unwanted behavior in a timely manner helps to ensure the conversation goes smoothly. When you build trust with your employees and provide ongoing feedback, they will understand that your intentions are pure. And because they know that your goal is simply to help them improve their performance, they will be more receptive to your feedback.
Building trust and moving the relationship forward requires that you communicate effectively with the other person. You must also be able to listen for understanding, demonstrate mutual respect, and act with integrity. This means keeping any promises you make.
Every day, CMOE works with leaders to help them build the skills required to deliver artful and effective feedback. We have helped leaders motivate employees to change their attitudes, develop appropriate work habits, build effective relationships with team members and customers, expend superior effort to complete an important project, increase their dependability, become more efficient, and exceed quality and performance goals.
Contact CMOE today to find out how we can help your company experience real growth.