Feedback is one of the important ways to boost morale among your employees or teammates. However, giving feedback to others is not as easy as it seems, and if you think you have mastered it by now, you might want to reflect on how you have been doing it lately. There might be something you do not know or something you are actually doing wrong, and there is no harm in double checking. After all, giving feedback to people can either have a good or bad effect on their performance, and of course, we are always aiming for a positive improvement!
Giving constructive feedback is also a step-by-step process and unlike what many think, it does not end after a good and long talk. So what are the things you should remember when giving constructive feedback? Here is a simple guide:
Be sure to make your own observations first before talking to your teammates. The feedback is coming from you and therefore, it should be based on things that you have seen and observed with your own eyes. This gives it more credibility. You cannot give your judgment and opinions on things you have not actually seen or have only heard from the grapevine. That is why you should pay attention first to the other person’s actions and behavior before deciding to confront them.
2. Seek other people’s opinion
It would not hurt to ask others if they have made similar observations. In fact, this way, you will be able to cross-check if the information that you have is correct and if there is a legitimate reason for you to bring forth the comments and feedback that you have for a person. Do be careful not to get swayed by other people’s opinions though!
3. Find a suitable venue
Preparing a good venue for your feedback session is also a must. Choose something that is both professional and welcoming. You do not want to make the other person feel like you are subjecting them to an interrogation but rather, a meaningful conversation that could help them grow and improve.
4. Be specific and factual
When giving your feedback, make sure to point out specific actions instead of generalizing your people’s performance. Don’t just say “your writing is confusing!” Instead, you can go for “you should avoid using too many adjectives when describing a subject.” By doing so, your teammates will be able to identify what needs to be improved and the chances of repeating the same mistake in the future will be reduced now that they are aware of it.
Moreover, back up your feedback with relevant data and information. Before getting into the conversation, make sure that you have assessed all angles of the situation.
5. Be straightforward
Be straightforward but professional. You might be thinking about beating around the bush before giving your feedback in an attempt to lighten the mood, but this could only make your teammates or employees more anxious. Doing this can also divert your attention from your true objective, resulting in failure to address any issues you would want to discuss and behaviors you meant to commend.
6. Do face-to-face conversations
As much as possible, do feedback sessions face-to-face instead of sending them through chat, email, or text messages. Through this, you can avoid possible misunderstandings. Besides, having an active discussion with the other person will allow you to effectively convey your thoughts.
7. Do not criticize things beyond their control
When giving feedback, it is important to also focus on the things that can still be changed. Avoid calling out your people for circumstances that are not in their control because first, your feedback will once again be useless. Second, chances are if you are put in their situation, you would not have been able to avoid or prevent whatever it is from happening. Focus on the actionable things if you want to see tangible outcomes.
8. Let your employee talk
Even if you are the one giving feedback, it should not be a one-sided conversation. Let your people explain their side, let them ask questions, and also let them offer their own suggestions as to how they think they can also improve their performance. You can use this chance to discuss and brainstorm solutions that would address any cause for concern. In addition, this will also help you identify the root cause of a problem.
9. Show your appreciation
Remember that your employees and teammates are trying their best to meet expectations, so after you give your feedback, do not also forget to commend them for their good behavior and performance. They will feel more motivated and inspired to follow through your suggestions for improvement. You should also thank them for taking the time to listen to you.
10. Observe proper timing
One thing you should know about giving feedback is that it has to be done as soon as possible. No, you do not give others feedback on their works weeks, months, or even years after they have done it. Constructive feedback is meant for improvement so waiting a long time before telling your people what you think about something they have done will make your feedback useless. Give your feedback ASAP and regularly so that the necessary changes and adjustments can be done, applied, and executed.
11. Be sincere
Giving feedback from time to time is important, but that does not mean you could just overdo it. Do not give feedback if it is unnecessary. With the unnatural frequency, your feedback will lose its value and it will only be seen as an offhand comment. Your employees would think that you are not really taking the time to see their work seriously and are just saying things for the sake of saying something. It is a common mistake for leaders to give positive feedback from time to time, thinking that it will earn them their team’s favor, but more often than not, this habit is seen as lack of sincerity.
12. Give suggestions and recommendations
After pointing out your concerns and observations, you should also give suggestions on what they can do to improve. Do not leave your teammates and employees hanging. As their leader, you should be able to properly guide them and steer them in the right direction. What can they do to avoid committing the same mistake? What should they focus on next time?
Constructive feedback is meant to motivate, inspire, boost morale, and encourage people to do better. Just like everything else, there is a proper way of doing this and by remembering these things, you will be able to earn a positive response to your feedback. Knowing how to give constructive feedback to your team to become better through constructive feedback is also a sign of your own growth.